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More than 50 Chicago-area restaurants closed due to COVID-19

September 17, 2020 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — More than 50 restaurants in the Chicago area have permanently closed their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chicago Tribune reported the figure as part of a snapshot of the city’s restaurant scene six months into a pandemic which has forced closures and caused widespread job loss.

Overall, Illinois has reported 268,207 confirmed cases, including 2,056 new cases reported Thursday. The state’s Department of Public Health said 8,392 people in Illinois have died since the beginning of the pandemic, including 25 reported Thursday.

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The state’s unemployment rate was 11% in August, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday in its latest figures. While the rate fell .5% from the previous month, the rate is almost triple August of last year when it was 3.8%.

Restaurant owner have said they’re particularly concerned about the winter months if things don’t change and restrictions on indoor dining remain in place.

Chicago officials launched a competition last month for creative outdoor dining ideas for the winter months and have received over 600 submissions so far. They include tents, heated tables and domes. The winners get a $5,000 cash prize and the chance to try out the idea at restaurants and bars in Chicago.