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Please, not more rules and taxes

The COVID-19 pandemic will have lasting impacts on our lives and the economy. Even now, as the state looks to reopen further, neighborhood bars and the entire hospitality industry have a long way to go before they recover.

As the co-owner of Pia’s Sports Bar and Bentley’s Pub here in Champaign, I know firsthand how difficult the past year has been. Our team was forced to navigate complex and ever-evolving guidelines that limited capacity, reduced hours and curbed operations.

In addition to restrictions, we had to scramble to obtain needed personal protective equipment and put in place enhanced cleaning methods to protect the health of our guests and staff.

Sales from the past year were down more than 50 percent even as costs continued to climb.

As someone who loves our community and is proud to invest in it by running small businesses that employ our neighbors, it is disheartening to know it will take years to fully recover. Our employees, customers and communities are relying on our businesses to help get life back to normal again.

While the city of Champaign has worked to lessen the impact for us locally, the last thing that the hospitality industry and Illinois’ neighborhood bars need is additional financial and regulatory burdens.

Neighborhood bars need our support, not increased regulations and higher taxes.

ERIC MEYER

Champaign

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