As new statewide mitigations limit the services that businesses can offer and keep families apart during the holidays, comedian Pat McGann hopes he can at least provide a few laughs and help the local economy.
In support of the “Small Business Super Raffle,” the Beverly resident will host “An Evening of Laughter with Pat McGann and Friends” on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m.
To attend the virtual stand-up comedy concert, guests must purchase five $10 raffle tickets via the website at the19thward.com.
McGann said rallying around the business community was a no-brainer as a neighborhood resident.
“It’s so hard right now to find ways to support these people,” McGann said. “Without them, what do we have in this community? We feel strongly about that—my family, we’ve been trying to buy local and order out.”
The Small Business Super Raffle is one of several contests and promotions supporting the local economy, with 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea teaming up with local business associations and dozens of businesses.
The raffle prizes range from a 2020 Ford Escape to $3,900 worth of gift cards from local businesses.
According to O’Shea, about $90,000 has been raised so far.
McGann said he is finalizing the format of the show, but it will include other performers and offer local flavor—he might even “roast” some local businesses, playfully poking fun at them.
He’s no stranger to that format. He hosted a roast of O’Shea at Mother McAuley High School before the February 2019 municipal election.
In September 2019, he performed two shows at The Vic Theatre on the North Side, with popular comedian Sebastian Maniscalco turning those shows into a TV special available on Amazon and other streaming services.
McGann can’t perform in front of thousands of fans now, so he has turned to virtual events supporting charities and small in-person shows.
He has been a frequent performer at “All That Good Stuff,” a local comedy series held outside at local bars and restaurants this fall and summer.
McGann said he’s enjoyed being able to re-connect with the neighborhood—and witness the benefits that his craft brings to the world.
“Comedy always seems to find a way to kind of creep into whatever the new reality is,” McGann said. “Those outdoor shows at Cork and Kerry and Barraco’s, those were a lot of fun.”
The restrictions, known as Tier 3 of the state’s Resurgence Mitigation Plan, went into effect on Nov. 20.
While not labeled as a stay-at-home order, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other state officials, they provide guidance for several industries as the fight continues against COVID-19.
The following types of businesses and activities can remain open, although with restrictions:
–bars and restaurants, which can offer outdoor service, pickup and delivery
–grocery stores, at 50-percent capacity
–health and fitness centers, at 25-percent capacity
–retail businesses, at 25-percent capacity
–personal care services, at 25-percent capacity
–pharmacies, at 50-percent capacity
–hotels, though they should be limited to registered guests
–outdoor sports and recreational activities, limited to 10 people.
Banquet halls, event spaces, cultural institutions, indoor fitness classes and recreational activities, and casinos are on hold.
Funerals are limited to 10 family members.
Childcare facilities may continue operating subject to guidelines from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Officials said school districts should follow guidance provided in August by the Illinois Board of Education.
Employees who can work remotely, officials said, should do so.
Illinois residents are advised to stay at home as much as possible and celebrate upcoming holidays only with members of their household.
People over age 2 are required to wear a mask in public and when social distancing is not feasible.
Throughout the 19th Ward, businesses continue to adjust.
Open Outcry Brewing Co., 10934 S. Western Ave., has installed small domes in its dining room; because they are near a large garage-like door that can be opened, they are considered outdoor dining. The brewery also continues to offer dining in its rooftop cabins.
Horse Thief Hollow Brewing Co., 10426 S. Western Ave., has taken a similar approach, providing indoor seating near its front windows.
Ken’s Restaurant, 10522 S. Western Ave., has kept open its temporary outdoor patio.
Businesses in the area continue to offer takeout and delivery services.
Pritzker announced the Tier 3 mitigations on Nov. 17. He said they are needed to help stem the influx of COVID-19 patients at hospitals.
“To stop this spread and preserve some semblance of the holidays, all of us need to do more than just wear our masks now—though masks are mandatory throughout the state. The simple fact is that COVID-19 is spreading so quickly and so widely, and our hospitals are beginning to experience real strain and at the current infection rate they will be overwhelmed. So, whenever possible, we need you to stay home,” Pritzker said in a news release. “I’m hopeful that by limiting our in-person interactions, we will succeed at avoiding a stay-at-home order like what we had in the spring—when the choice between saving lives and saving livelihoods was even more stark. Tier 3 may allow us to do both. Like in other states like Michigan and California and Washington, it’s our best effort to avoid a stay-at-home order and save lives.”
According to the release, the spread of the virus is “exponential” in every region of the state, and the statewide positivity rate is at a record high; hospitalizations are surpassing the spring peak.
That made the latest mitigations necessary, officials said.
“There is no denying that the state is headed in the wrong direction with increased cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in the release. “There also is no denying that reducing the opportunities for the virus to spread can reverse our direction. This includes staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask and keeping social distance when we do have to go out, and not gathering with people outside our households. Until a vaccine is widely available and people understand the importance of being vaccinated, we must continue to take preventive actions to stop the transmission of the virus. Right now, our preventive actions are the best way to prevent new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”