Alchemy and Legacy, the two restaurants inside Giovanni’s Convention Center will be closed temporarily beginning today.

With the news full of restaurants that are bucking the governor's mitigation orders (and I fully understand where those restaurants are coming from), it's important that we note that the Giovanni's closing is being done willingly and by choice.

Giovanni's, Facebook

The closure also includes take-out orders.

In a weekend full of closing announcements, Rockford's "The Norwegian" restaurant says that they're ending restaurant service at their 1402 North Main Street location, saying that they cannot continue on financially with carry-out and patio service.

If all these closings, both forced and by choice, are giving you a sinking feeling about the future prospects for Illinois' restaurant business, you have good reason to feel that way.

According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, 20% of food establishments are expected to remain closed due to COVID-19-related economic fallout. If that estimate is correct, that means nearly 5,100 businesses will be forced to shut their doors permanently.

Illinois Policy:

While the 20% estimate is troubling, the closures could be far worse. Surveys show only 30% of businesses in the industry were expecting to be able to survive if the crisis lasted for four months, while only 15% expected to be able to survive if COVID persisted for six months. Business closures of this magnitude would mean that 17,800 to 21,700 Illinois restaurants would remain closed for good.

Also, according to a new report this morning, legal gambling revenue here in Illinois is also taking a big hit. The COVID-19 pandemic has slashed state tax revenues down more than $200 million (about 13 percent) for fiscal 2020.

The biggest source of gambling revenue in our state comes from the Illinois State Lottery, and the pandemic has affected lottery ticket buying, too. Lottery ticket sales in Illinois are down $172.5 million.