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Diners in the Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, on Nov. 11. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Restaurants in several states — including Kentucky, Illinois and California — are staying open and defying restrictions, as states try to manage skyrocketing coronavirus cases and hospitalizations with more safety measures.

The big picture: Restaurant industry trade groups have been desperately lobbying for federal aid from a coronavirus stimulus package that has yet to see any traction in Congress.

What they're saying: “I asked what would happen if I keep on serving,” Andrew Cooperrider, owner of a Lexington, Kentucky, coffee shop, told the Lexington Herald Leader. He said the health department couldn't tell him what repercussions he would face.

  • “The worst that could happen is we close ... I go to jail for a bit,” Cooperrider said. “What am I facing now, locked up inside my house with losing my businesses. ... I have more to gain by resisting than I do to comply.”
  • “Back in January I was a millionaire. Now I’m on food stamps. ... I understand about us dying but I care about us living," he added.

In Carol Stream, Illinois, Mike Coughlin is keeping his Village Tavern and Grill open despite a statewide suspension of indoor dining, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • “You pay my bills, you pay my taxes, you pay my employees, and I’ll close,” Coughlin said, addressing Democrat Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “I’m not going to be the guy with a boarded-up building because I follow someone else’s science.”
  • “I was faced with a lose-lose situation,” Spiro Roumpas, co-owner of Ki’s Steak and Seafood in a Chicago suburb, told the WSJ. He is keeping his dining rooms open and says local authorities have not yet enforced the statewide ban.

In Los Angeles County last week, the California Restaurant Association lost its bid to block an outdoor dining ban from taking effect, per the Los Angeles Times.

The bottom line: A September study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that participants who tested positive for the coronavirus were about twice as likely as those who tested negative to have dined at restaurants in the two weeks before they got sick.

  • The study did not differentiate between outdoor and indoor dining options.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Updated Oct 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Moderna has become the world's vaccine boogeyman — Booster shots overtake first doses in the U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate entire Brazilian city as part of study.
  2. Health: New cases down, but the West is at risk — Low vaccination rates exacerbate America's caregiving crisis — COVID is here to stay. So what does "victory" look like?
  3. Politics: NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated — WHO names new advisory group on COVID origins — Biden admin warns Moderna to "step up" global vaccine supply.
  4. Education: LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations amid staffing shortage — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive — Arizona can't use aid for anti-mask education grants, Treasury says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.