- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 14, 2021

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot‘s comments this week on COVID-19 are a far cry from her “stay-at-home” orders for Thanksgiving.

The Windy City Democrat who urged citizens to “cancel traditional Thanksgiving plans” now says it’s time to “get our restaurants and bars reopened as quickly as possible.”

Ms. Lightfoot‘s comments come despite the city failing to meet Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s conditions for reopening indoor dining, a local CBS affiliate reported Thursday.

House parties that cannot easily be controlled by local authorities were cited as reason enough to reverse course.

“If we have people and give them an outlet for entertainment in the restaurant space, in the bar space, we have much more of an opportunity, in my view, to be able to regulate and control that environment,” Ms. Lightfoot said, the station reported. “People are engaging in risky behavior that is not only putting themselves at risk but putting their families, their co-workers, and other ones at risk. Let’s bring it out of the shadows. Let’s allow them to have some recreation in restaurants, in bars, where we can actually work with responsible owners and managers to regulate and protect people from COVID-19.”

The new tone regarding the contagion echoes New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, albeit with a heavier emphasis on local economics. 

“We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass,” the Democrat tweeted Monday. “The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open.”

Ms. Lightfoot said she feels “very strongly” that Chicago should change course because business owners have “gone above and beyond to put in mitigation controls” in place.

“Indoor dining and bar service would not be allowed in any region until they meet the requirements to lift Tier 3, Tier 2, and Tier 1 mitigations, and return to Phase 4 of the state’s Restore Illinois reopening plan,” the station reported.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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