LOGAN SQUARE — As Chicago faces a second wave of coronavirus, more restaurants and bars in Logan Square are having to shut down temporarily due to workers testing positive for the virus or being exposed to someone who may have had the virus.
At least four neighborhood spots have announced temporary shutdowns in recent days: Revolution Brewing’s brewpub at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., Cellar Door Provisions at 3025 W. Diversey Ave. and Maplewood Brewery at 2717 N. Maplewood Ave.
Just an hour after this story first published, Logan Square’s Boiler Room, 2210 N. California Ave., also closed after a staffer tested positive for the virus.
Boiler Room, Revolution and Maplewood breweries had non-customer facing employees test positive for coronavirus. At Cellar Door, an employee was exposed to a person who may have had coronavirus, according to co-owner Ethan Pikas.
This week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, defended the city’s decision to keep allowing indoor service at bars as Chicago sees a skyrocketing number of new cases.
In contrast, Gov. JB Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the state’s contact tracers have found bars and restaurants are among the most common places where Illinoisans with coronavirus think they might have been exposed.
Josh Deth, owner of Revolution Brewing, shut down the Logan Square brewpub Sunday evening after learning a non-customer facing employee had tested positive for the virus.
Deth said while they “obviously” don’t want to close for any reason, it was an easy decision to make with employees’ and customers’ safety at stake.
“It used to be a big deal to be closed for a day or two and now it’s just not,” he said. “What’s important is taking care of people and being safe.”
Unlike other breweries and bars, Revolution is fortunate it has a huge manufacturing and distribution arm, Deth said. While business is down at the brewpub and the taproom, store sales have gone up, he said.
“More people are drinking beer at home than they were before,” he said
Deth is planning to reopen the brewpub sometime in the coming days after all employees have tested negative for the virus. The brewery will share the reopening date on social media.
“You try to take care of people,” he said. “The dollars you lose being closed or the disappointment of a customer who walks up and sees the closed sign … it’s nothing compared to when you feel like you’re doing the right thing by being closed.”
Also on Sunday the owners of Cellar Door Provisions shut down the farm-to-table restaurant after learning an employee of theirs had been potentially exposed to the virus. Cellar Door has only ever offered curbside pickup since reopening after the statewide shutdown.
The plan is to reopen the restaurant sometime next week after everyone on staff has tested negative two separate times, Pikas said. A reopening date will be released on the restaurant’s social media pages in the coming days.
Pikas said the abrupt shutdown didn’t have a huge impact on their food supply because they get food deliveries daily and try to keep waste at a minimum, but was a “huge blow” financially.
“Any time lost, where we are closed, is hugely detrimental,” Pikas said.
With coronavirus cases climbing, Pikas said he wishes Cellar Door could remain closed but the reality is their employees depend on their paychecks to stay afloat and the federal government is not providing enough relief to both employed and unemployed workers.
“If we could somehow remain closed, I think we would do so because it is a big physical and psychological burden on everyone, the staff and the folks purchasing food from us,” Pikas said.
Maplewood Brewery, on the eastern edge of Logan Square, also recently closed after a non-customer facing employee tested positive for the virus. The owner didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the brewery reopened Wednesday after all employees tested negative and the space was thoroughly cleaned, according to a Facebook post.
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