Current Event - Local Issue
I chose to discuss the current policy that has been put into place for the Chicagoland area that requires local bars and restaurants to close at midnight every night if the establishment serves alcohol. This new policy has been put in place as a direct result of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Chicago (NBC Chicago, 2020). The mayor’s office issued a press release that explained as long as establishments follow this new policy and continue with preventative measures, there will be a decrease in new cases of COVID-19 (NBC Chicago, 2020). Bars and restaurants are intended for intimate social interaction, which increases risk factors of transmission (NBC Chicago, 2020). In a typical bar setting, it is loud, which causes people to raise their voices, allowing droplets to travel further and infect more people (NBC Chicago, 2020). The Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has been receiving an increasing number of phone calls about reopening complaints as of June 3 (NBC Chicago, 2020). Since the complaints started, there have been 1,112 totals, which has led to 483 investigations. In conclusion, there were 81 warnings, 17 citations, and one immediate closing of an establishment (NBC Chicago, 2020).
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The new policy requires bars and restaurants to only seat 25% capacity or up to fifty people (NBC Chicago, 2020). This policy also involves the closing of indoor dining of these establishments by midnight; however, the bar or restaurant may still do curbside pickup and delivery, but no customers are to remain or go inside (NBC Chicago, 2020). It was stated that if this policy is violated by a bar or restaurant, they risk losing their liquor license along with an immediately being forced to close (NBC Chicago, 2020). Governor Pritzker mentioned that he would have no problem closing an establishment down if this policy was not followed (NBC Chicago, 2020). It is believed that if we can continue to listen to our elected officials by obeying these policies that we will see a decline in new cases of COVID-19 in the Chicagoland area. Some precautionary steps to continue implementing in daily life are as follows; wearing approved masks when in public places, practicing social distancing, and continuously washing hands for the appropriate length of time (NBC Chicago, 2020).
This policy affects me personally for several reasons. The first reason being, I work at a bar located within the Chicagoland area. This means that I will lose hours, resulting in less of an income. Many people, including myself, have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19. And being a full-time student allows minimal time for working. When and if I do have time to work, it is usually at night. A loss of income not only affects people on a personal level, but it also takes a toll on the economy. When more people see a decrease in hours at work or even employment opportunities, it results in people not being about to afford things like going out to eat. This leads to me making less money and the economy seeing less money also. Another way this issue affects me personally is by applying a policy, such as forcing bars and restaurants to close early, it may make some people feel like it’s still not safe to come and dine in or stay for a cocktail. Thus, there are fewer customers coming in and less staff needed for each shift.
The final way this new bar and restaurant closing policy has affected me is on a social level. For my age group, it is very common to socialize at a local bar. As I mentioned, I work at a bar in the Chicagoland area; therefore, I get off work late. Sometimes a local bar is the only place open for me to meet up with friends when I get off work. After the stay at home order and being confined to my home for eight weeks, I look forward to socializing with friends in a public place. And now, meeting up with a friend after I get off work is no longer an option. COVID-19 has taken an emotional toll on many across the United States. I personally know several people who report an increase in depression and anxiety since this pandemic started. Being social and connecting with others is a great way to reduce these emotions.
I did feel that the reporter who wrote this article remained neutral throughout. I say this because he/she did not put their personal opinion in the report. Also, this article provided an unbiased and accurate presentation of facts. And the reporter did not endorse nor reject the policy or a specific point of view on the policy. This article’s tone shows an equal representation of all positions related to this subject.
After evaluating this source, I knew it would be suitable to use for this assignment for several reasons. The first reason is that this article is current, it was published on July 10, 2020, and the content was related to my task. The purpose of this article was to inform and teach people about this new policy, which is the second reason this source was viable. This article is also well organized and uses quotes from relevant people. And finally, this source was supported and published by a reputable institution, NBC Chicago.
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There are a few ways I may influence this local policy in the future. First, I would like to do more research so I may understand the issue more thoroughly. By understanding the issue, knowing the goals of the policy, and looking at both sides, I can then form a more educated argument. I want to investigate how many people this policy affects, what the policy impacts, and how long this policy will remain in effect. I would then share my results and research with the public so they may form their own opinions about this policy. By voicing my opinion and sharing my results, I hope to influence people to see that this policy should not be in effect. I may also influence this local policy in the future by reaching out to the appropriate city officials to share my opinion and research or by creating a petition to lift this policy from the city of Chicago.
NBC Chicago. (2020, July 10). Chicago Bars, Restaurants Serving Alcohol Now Required to Close by Midnight, City Says. Retrieved July 12, 2020, from https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/chicago-bars-and-restaurants-now-required-to-close-by-midnight/2302861/
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