Once again, the dark days of the coronavirus Pandemic have descended on Chicago’s pubs and eateries. A winter surge of COVID-19 cases — and the rapid introduction of the omicron variant — has caused confusion and closures across Chicago’s hospitality business, including more than two dozen pubs and Restaurants that have at least temporarily closed in recent days, in a scene similar of a year ago. Big Kids, Billy Sunday, Cabra, The Duck Inn, Four Letter Word Coffee, Giant, Kumiko, Lae Peng You, Lardon, Little Goat, Little Victories, The Native, Outside Voices, Rose Mary, Scofflaw, Sepia, S.K.Y., Tied House, Verve Wine, Wazwan, and Old Irving and Begyle breweries are among the other businesses that have closed.
Some closed merely as a precaution amid a national and statewide rise in cases this month that has many flocking to seek vaccination boosters and tests ahead of the Christmas weekend, but not all were motivated by an exposure to COVID-19. Some Restaurants have promised to reopen as soon as possible — or have already done so, such as cocktail club Lost Lake, which closed on Dec. 11 after a staff member tested positive for the virus, only to reopen four days later. Other closures are indefinite, with the prospect of permanent closure approaching.
Begyle Brewing said on Instagram on Saturday that it would close its Ravenswood taproom and serve beer only to go after many staff tested positive for COVID-19, despite the brewery taking all precautions possible. Begyle owner Kevin Cary said in an interview Monday that he doesn’t know how long the shutdown will remain or if consumer confidence is high enough to justify reopening. Steingold’s of Chicago, a Lakeview deli, said on Saturday that it will be closed until Wednesday owing to staff members suffering from cold-like symptoms. Despite being vaccinated and having gotten the booster shot, two staff, including owner Aaron Steingold, finally tested positive, according to Steingold.