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‘Screw you’: Ill. pizzeria owner lets Gov Pritzker know where she stands on closure mandate with huge banner

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An Illinois pizza place was not complying without controversy to the state’s order for restaurants to close in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

While many eateries and businesses across the nation are being forced to adjust their work schedules and policies due to the global pandemic, Rosati’s was apparently not going to shutter its Taylorville location without a verbal fight.

Not long after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the closure of bars and restaurants except for delivery or takeout services in an effort to stem the spread of the virus, he was met with a message that couldn’t be missed, the Herald & Review reported.

“Governor Pritzker — Screw You,” read the spray-painted words on a 12-by-3-foot banner hung across the front of the restaurant.

“I did it myself because he had no business shutting my business down,” Peggy Brandon, owner of the Rosati’s located in Taylorville, told the newspaper.

The restaurant, which seats up to 150 diners, was part of the Rosati’s chain of pizza stores which started out in Chicago and branched out to over 200 locations across the country. Though business had been good for the past year, Brandon feared her eatery would not recover from the forced closure as takeout orders and deliveries had not previously made up a large portion of her profits.

“I just don’t know, I couldn’t tell you if we’ll make it,” she said. “But I doubt it.”

According to the Herald & Review:

She said she has 20 employees depending on her for their livelihoods and now their paychecks are gone.

“Look, there have been no reported cases (of coronavirus) in Christian County,” added Brandon. “And yet he (Pritzker) wants me and my servers to go without income for two weeks. Is the government going to pay us? Hell no, they’re not. Pritzker is a (expletive, expletive). He needs to go.”

 

While Brandon’s bold message may not have gotten the governor’s attention, it did get a response from Rosati’s, which ended up terminating the franchise agreement the company had with her, according to Eater Chicago.

“We stand with the Illinois Restaurant Association and the Governor in this difficult decision; we must work together and take extraordinary measures to halt the spread of COVID-19,” a spokesperson for Rosati’s said.

The statewide total of reported coronavirus cases in Illinois is 422, with at least four deaths, according to the Chicago Tribune which reported that Pritzker confirmed Thursday he was considering a shelter-in-place order which is currently in effect in Oak Park.

Twitter users reacting to the close of businesses in light of the health crisis sympathized with owners who they claimed have more real-world experience that many politicians.

The news about the Taylorville Rosati’s prompted many reactions on Twitter, where one user noted that the pizza place was apparently not the only one to lash out at the governor, whom many defended for doing the right thing.

Frieda Powers

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