Dean Pappas is stuck between an indoor-dining ban and a hard place.
His family has been running the Glen Oak Cafe in Glen Ellyn, Ill., for 43 years. Thanks to carryout and a $57,000 federal loan, Mr. Pappas managed to avoid going out of business when pandemic lockdowns forced him to suspend indoor dining from March to June. The construction of a tent helped him regain a sizable amount of business over the summer. But business plunged in October when the state ordered restaurants in his county to stop offering indoor dining for a second time; it was banned statewide the following month. Mr. Pappas ignored the mandates and kept serving customers indoors at his 160-seat breakfast and lunch restaurant.
Nonetheless, sales remain 60% lower from last year.