Illinois restaurant owner slams coronavirus shutdowns: 'We're just left to the wolves'

Illinois restaurant owner on COVID restrictions: Politicians make rules they don’t follow themselves

Erik Baylis tells ‘America’s Newsroom’ the Paycheck Protection Program money he received was a small ‘Band-Aid’ and now restaurants have been ‘left to the wolves.’

An Illinois restaurant owner told "America's Newsroom" Thursday that while he is grateful for the "Band-Aid" of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), "we need help now."

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Erik Baylis, the owner of Big Onion Hospitality in Chicago, said it was ridiculous to think the $150,000 in PPP money he received would enable his business to survive the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on indoor and outdoor dining.

"The biggest issue really, right now, is that we kind of have everything stripped from us and a small Band-Aid was put on and now we're just left to the wolves, really," Baylis told co-host Trace Gallagher.

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"To say I'm frustrated is the biggest understatement in the history of American television," he went on. "These politicians are making decisions, one, that almost all of them are not following themselves, which is just absolutely ridiculous, which you've seen here in Illinois from the governor, the mayor, and other politicians. Then, two, spending all this money on [eating] outdoors, to really build an indoor-outdoor [area]. It's one of the most ridiculous things ever."

The Chicago-area business owner says politicians need to do the hard work and figure out how they can actually help.

As many as 55% of restaurants in Illinois will shut down if no more help is offered, according to the National Restaurant Association, but Baylis says the situation will be worse than that.

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"That's underestimated," he said. "The numbers are based on people that have already turned in their licenses. I have a place that is closed … I have not turned my license in yet, just holding on, hopefully, something can happen."

Baylis concluded: "There's so many people that are on the last limb, the last thread, and we need help now. Those numbers can be way more than that, and we're also not thinking of all the businesses that open every year."

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