“I am a seasonal business and Illinois’ biggest biker destination, so in the summertime most of the traffic that comes to my business is on motorcycles.
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“We have been open doing curbside delivery, so we’ve been taking it out to the cars. Until [two weeks ago], and it got to be a really beautiful day and my motorcycle customer base came out in full force.
“The bikers were taking the food and were sitting on my picnic tables that were outside and are permanently there. I had them all spaced more than 10 feet apart.
“Well, I looked crazy busy. And obviously a lot of people were hating on me because I was open and other people were not. They complained and I got a cease-and-desist letter from the state.
“The state told me nobody can eat or drink on the premises at all. So there goes all my business because bikers obviously can’t eat on a motorcycle.
“We’re pretty upset because it’s gonna close me down. I’ve got enough money to probably go another two months. So, I’m trying to save my business that I’ve had for 24 years. And I’m fighting. I’m fighting for my life.
“I put [in] all my money, all my 24 years of growing my business. I’ve put everything back into it. There’s no bar or restaurant around that has grown as much as this facility has grown. My problem was I should have kept some more back. I’m going through it entirely too fast.
“We did our best to try to social distance and still make some money and keep my employees in jobs. All my employees were wearing masks. I had signs up telling people to social distance.
“I called an attorney that somebody recommended. He took the case and we filed suit. We were open last weekend for curbside service, and the bikers took their food to an adjacent property and ate.
“Even if I make enough curbside to stay open all summer, when I make all my biggest money, then I’m going to be completely broke. I’m not gonna be able to survive until the next motorcycle season. Is there gonna be any money come that time to bail us out? I don’t think so.
“I’m fighting for my life. I don’t want to get anybody sick and I definitely tell older people and sick people, ‘Don’t come out.’ That’s crazy. I got my parents at their house and I tell them to not even think about coming out. I’m not saying that there isn’t a virus, but I’m saying there’s a lot of healthy people out there and if they want to, they should be able to come out and I would like to be able to serve them and try to make a living. I don’t want to lose my business.
“If I lose my business, I might as well be dead as far as I’m concerned. I’ve done this my whole life. Now that may sound stupid to some people, but it doesn’t to me.
“I won’t have to worry about [the progressive income tax if it starts Jan. 1] because I won’t be open, or even make it to January. I’ll be done in a short period of time.
“I still have my fingers crossed. I’m praying that this attorney is going to [keep] me open, somehow. How? I don’t have any idea, but at least open enough, with some common sense, so I can start making a dollar.
“I just watched one of my friends downtown close his business permanently. You know, when you see a guy like that standing there in tears. I’m worried for him. Pritzker isn’t worried for him. So, I mean I’m angry. I’m angry.
“Four businesses, basically this last week, just announced they’d be closed permanently in town. A gym, a bar and two hair salons. That’s just this last week. Permanently. It’s hard to sit and watch people in tears, and then to sit and think, ‘You know, I’m not too far down the road from being those people.’”
Owner, Poopy’s biker bar