CHICAGO (CBS) — We are now only hours away from the reopening of Chicago and the state of Illinois.
Phase 5 officially starts Friday – which means no limits anywhere.
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CBS 2’s Brandon Merano reports from Wrigleyville where the neighborhood is gearing up for a huge day Friday.
It’s an unofficial holiday for Chicago.
“It seems like everybody is gearing up for it to be something like that, and we’re certainly gearing up for it too,” said Roost owner Joe Scroggs.
As Illinois plans to fully re-open Friday, more than 41,000 fans will flock to Wrigley to watch the Cubs take on the Cardinals.
“Looks like it’s going to be a great fun weekend,” Scroggs said. “Weather is great, there’s going to be a lot of people and it’s going to feel like the old world I guess.”
But for many businesses like Roost, the road back to normal has been rough.
“For this street, no Cubs, nothing really going on, nobody really out here having a good time. It’s been slow,” said Scroggs.
And as businesses like Roost pick up the pace and try to hire more workers, one common problem plagues bars and restaurants from Clark street, throughout Chicago and across the country.
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“People hesitant to go back to work yet,” Scroggs said. “And you hear people talking about and I don’t know if this is true but people talking about sitting on long term unemployment.”
Those extended unemployment benefits are scheduled to run out in September.
Joe Scroggs said even then, the business he started and many like it may have to adapt.
“I think the restaurant industry is going to face a reckoning in the next year about how people get paid,” Scroggs said.
Some Clark Street cornerstones are already upping the ante, increasing salaries and offering extra incentives.
“Right now we are definitely hiring bus boys, servers, anyone to just help out especially this weekend,” said Sean Brown, a server at Smoke Daddy’s.
And as Wrigley gets set to host its biggest crowd in a year and a half, Scroggs and his staff are preparing for a return to normal.
Even if it looks different.
“Restaurants are really going to have to rethink their labor strategy moving forward,” Scroggs said.
Even though Thursday marks day one of the state being fully re-opened not all restrictions will be lifted.
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Illinois still recommends social distancing indoors and for unvaccinated people to wear a mask.