The latest efforts to combat the new coronavirus aim to slow the spread of the illness, called COVID-19, by “social distancing“: shutting down large gatherings and events, getting people to work from home, closing schools, and even closing all bars and restaurants to in-person dining, as Illinois just did. These approaches, while needed according to many public health experts, will put pressures on different parts of the community: people on quarantine unable to get food as grocery stores empty out, restaurants and coffee shops losing revenue, venues shutting down or canceling shows.
If you’re worried about the effects on your neighbors in Logan Square, here are some ways to help out — from offering your volunteer hours to buying gift cards online from your favorite local spots (see below):
Note: We are continuing to update this article as additional resources, fundraisers, online sales and other links come in. Please check back!
Mutual Aid and Other Do-Gooder Deeds
Mutual aid: Logan Square neighbors have started the Logan Square Mutual Aid Network. Linking up groups like Food Not Bombs and Chicago Mutual Aid, the volunteer sign-up is led by Chicago community organizer Kelley Hayes and others and aims to connect folks who want to help out their neighbors with organizations putting together drives. You can offer to volunteer to drop off groceries to quarantined individuals, for example. (The document assures us that precautions will be taken, like simply leaving food outside and not involving volunteers over 50 or in other risk groups.)
“Thank you so much for looking out for others during a crisis that is reinforcing individualism in increasingly harmful ways,” wrote Hayes in the document. “Safe distancing is important, but we also have to be able to hold each other, even when we’re apart.”
The direct-action group My Block, My Hood, My City continues to deliver care packages to Chicago seniors, and is seeking donations and volunteers amid the current increased need.
Financial hardship and help: Hayes and fellow organizer Delia Galindo have also set up a Chicago COVID-19 Hardship and Help page. There, you’ll find forms where those in need can make requests and those able to help can find a list of COVID-19-related hardships to respond to. For example, the list currently includes an individual who’s lost income due to a delayed theater contract and another person who’s now housebound with an autoimmune disorder and got let go from the ad industry.
Those out of work due to coronavirus will be able to qualify for unemployment benefits, thanks to emergency rules that Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he will file this week.
Groups for moms and families: As we mentioned in our article on businesses closing, mothers who need help as schools and business close can turn to the Facebook group Northside Chicago Mom Angels, which is coordinating support. And our good neighbors on the Logan Square Community Page continue to offer help ranging from childcare support to tips on making hand sanitizer.
Chicago’s Common Pantry plans to stay open and provide food for those in need. The organization predicts an increased pressure on families who depend on schools to help provide meals for their kids. Common Pantry asked for donations to help with that work here.
Waive the Refund, Buy a Gift Card, Order In
Support arts venues and artists: As many have pointed out recently, reduced attendance at concerts, plays and other shows, along with outright cancellations of many events, will put a squeeze on venues and performers. One way to help out? When that show gets canceled, waive your refund, as this post suggested. “This is the kind of thing that kills arts organizations,” that poster wrote. “Thousands of theatre professionals’ jobs and health care are at stake.” You could also buy a membership at art institutions you support or a gift certificate at a performance venue if they sell those, as this post advises.
Are you a freelancer artist or do you know some facing hardship as shows and performances get canceled? Check out this extensive list of resources for freelance artists during the pandemic. It includes links to legal resources for Chicago artists during COVID-19, emergency funding organizations and info on a Monday, March 16, webinar (7 p.m. CDT).
Nab a gift card for future deliciousness: As restaurants and cafes close out of concern for the greater public health, you can still support them from home. (According to the governor’s recent proclamation, all Illinois bars and restaurants must close to in-person dining Monday, but can stay open for delivery and curbside pickup.) Just head online and get yourself a gift card that you can use once this all blows over, as this Logan Square neighbor and others have suggested. Figure out how much you might spend at a favorite location over two weeks or a month and buy a card. You can help your go-to spot stay afloat during difficult times and then treat yourself to a few post-lockdown celebratory meals — two birds!
Below, see a (partial!) list of restaurants in the neighborhood that sell gift cards online. (Please let us know of others to add to the list, too — these are just the ones we could find so far!) And if your favorite spot doesn’t sell cards over the web, check if you can buy one by phone. Cafe Mustache (2313 N. Milwaukee Ave.), for instance, welcomed folks to call in and do just that (773-687-9063).
(Unfortunately, as commenters have noted, this won’t help the bartenders, baristas or waitstaff who depend on tips for income. But maybe you can put some gentle pressure on your local to remember to think of their people when you get your card.)
Logan Square Restaurants Selling Gift Cars Online and Via Phone (a Partial List)
- Cafe Mustache (Call 773-687-9063)
- Chicago Diner (2333 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
- Chiya Chai (2770 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
- Giant (3209 W. Armitage Ave.)
- Intelligentsia (2642 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
- Logan Theatre (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
- Longman & Eagle (2657 N. Kedzie Ave.)
- Lula Cafe (2537 N. Kedzie Blvd.)
- The Old Plank (2700 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Call 773-661-2190
- Pretty Cool Ice Cream (2353 N. California Ave.): Call and ask for Ruth for a gift card
- Reno (2607 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
- Table, Donkey and Stick (2728 W. Armitage Ave.)
- Your Happy Place Liquors (2501A N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Order in online: Of course, even if you can’t go the gift card route, you could also support your favorite eatery remotely by ordering delivery. (Maybe wash your hands before and after grabbing that delivery bag, though?) The Chicago-based Grubhub has announced that it will waive commissions on restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic, Block Club reported. The company will let restaurants around the country, including the more than 10,000 it partners with in Chicago, keep up to $100 million in commissions.
Order delivery/pickup by phone: Many Logan-area restaurants remain open for delivery and pickup by phone if not online. Check out this list from a neighbor on the Logan Square Community Page of Logan restaurants offering delivery and pickup. This new site, Dining at a Distance – Chicago, lists restaurants across the city offering those services. You can search by zip code to find those in the neighborhood.
In many cases, calling the restaurant puts more money directly into local staff’s hands. “Please call … to directly support our staff,” The Old Plank said in an email, for example. “Our hourly and tipped employees will be delivering all orders themselves.”
A few spots have let us know specifically that they’re eager to get your calls: One Of A Kind Hospitality told us that its Logan Square properties remain open for delivery and pick-up. You can place orders via telephone at: Cafe Con Leche (2714 N. Milwaukee Ave.) 773-289-4274, The Harding Tavern (2732 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 773-697-9340, The Old Plank (2700 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 773-661-2190 and Saba Italian Bar + Kitchen (2715 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 773-697-9273. Cafe Mustache similarly announced that their full menu would be available for delivery via phone, at 773-687-9063. Avondale Coffee Club (3185 N. Elston Ave.) recently announced they’re making coffee online sales for pickup.
Virtually tip your bartenders and other staff: Some venues, restaurants and other service businesses (e.g., hair salons) in the neighborhood have set up online campaigns to collect tips for their staff, after Chicago institution The Hideout set up a virtual tip jar for its employees. Those out of work due to the restaurant closures may also be able to file for emergency unemployment benefits, and Fat Rice (2957 W. Diversey Ave.) is offering pay-what-you-can meal kits to laid off restaurant workers and others in need.
Below, are some spots in Logan Square (and nearby) hosting fundraisers for their staff. Logan Arcade also posted a list of area staff fundraisers. For a more extensive list of businesses across the city with staff fundraisers, visit the Chicago Service Relief directory or this document from the new group Chicago Hospitality Employee Relief Guide, recently shared by Block Club.
- 90 Miles (2540 W. Armitage Ave.): Employee relief fund
- Avondale Coffee Club: Employee relief
- Boiler Room (2210 N. California Ave.): Employee emergency fund
- Burlington (3425 W. Fullerton Ave.): Workers relief fund
- Cafe Mustache: Help the Cafe Mustache staff
- Chicago Diner (2333 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Employee relief fund
- Cole’s Bar (2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Employee relief fund
- Concord Music Hall (2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Staff relief fund
- DMen Tap (2849 W. Belmont Ave.): Staff support
- Dos Urban Cantina (2829 W. Armitage Ave.): Dos tip jar
- El Cid (2645 N. Kedzie Ave.): Server relief fund
- Emporium Arcade (2363 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Employee relief fund
- Ground Control (3315 W. Armitage Ave.): Staff fund
- Hopewell (2760 N. Milwaukee Ave.): The brewery encourages customers to patronize the online store, with a tip option to support staff.
- Logan Arcade (2410 W. Fullerton Ave.): Staff relief fund
- Lost Lake (3154 .W Diversey Ave.): Staff relief fund
- Milwaukee Avenue Alliance: Emergency relief donations for staff at restaurants on northern Milwaukee Avenue, from Kimball to Central Park, including Dante’s Pizzeria and (2825 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and Crown Liquors (2821 N. Milwaukee Ave.).
- The Native (2417 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Bartender fund (also offering prizes, livestream hangouts with staff)
- The Owl, others (2521 N. Milwaukee Ave.): 4 Entertainment Group has set up a bar staff relief fund for employees at its properties, which include Logan’s The Owl.
- Pilot Project Brewing (2140 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Staff relief fund
- Reed’s Local (3017 W. Belmont Ave.): Help for Reed’s
- Reno (2607 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Reno 911
- Rosa’s Lounge (3420 W. Armitage Ave.): Employee relief fund
- Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont Ave.): Employee fund
- Twisted Scissors (2007 North Point St.): Staff relief fund
- The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Employe fund
“This is a huge blow to the staff who are not just your best friends in the bartending/security biz but also performers, comedians, artists, musicians and DJs,” Cole’s said on its funding page. “Pretty much we got very good at jobs that require large groups of people to gather together. … These ancient rites of the ‘before time’ have melted into the ether for the foreseeable future. All the money will go to Cole’s Bar employees for frivolous millennial trinkets like food, rent, utilities and so much more.”
To help service staff across the city, including those in several Logan restaurants, you can nab one of these new Chicago Hospitality United T-shirts. All proceeds go to hourly Chicago workers, including staff at partner spots in the Logan area, such as Hopewell, Ludlow Liquors (2959 N. California Ave.), Mini Mott 3057 W. Logan Blvd.), Scofflaw (3201 W. Armitage Ave.) and Young American (2545 N. Kedzie Blvd.). As of Tuesday morning, T-shirt sales had surpassed $40K in less than 24 hours. Way to go, Chicago!
Shop local — online! Arguably, even easier than supporting restaurants, plenty of local retail shops, of course, also sell online. So, as you’re cooped up at home, don’t forget to internet-buy some gifts at Steel Petal Press (2321 N. Milwaukee Ave.), some new looks from Birdseye Rule (2319 N. Milwaukee Ave.) or some decor at Galerie F (2415 N. Milwaukee Ave.). (This is, again, by necessity a partial list, of course!) Steel Petal is also now offering “Corona Care Packages” online. “Order something to ship directly to a friend and we can write the note for you,” the store told us in an email.
The Play (3109 W. Logan Blvd.) toy and book store, which is closing for in-store shopping March17-31, invites customers to purchase gift cards online. CityLit Books (2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.), closing through March 30, also has gift cards for sale online.
Butter Up, a local homemade body butters and facial oils company started by a yoga teacher in the neighborhood, is offering deliveries around Logan Square. Get your hands on some fresh-smelling body butters and support an entrepreneur!
Go Grocer in Wicker Park (2060 W. North Ave.) is offering 10% off to service workers affected by these closures. Just show a recent paystub at checkout!
Why We’re “Social Distancing”
You’ve likely heard already all about the need for social distancing — hence the canceling of big shows and parades, the shuttering of schools, and the encouragement to stay home as much as possible. (Although, by the looks of the behavior of a lot of stubbornly St. Paddy’s Day-barcrawling folks, maybe not enough people heard about it.)
But if you need more information on the hows and whys of it all — including why we all need to help “flatten the curve” of the disease spread to protect the most vulnerable among us — here are some good places to start, at The Washington Post and The Atlantic.
If you think you have coronavirus, Hermosa Medical is offering testing. Call for more details: (773) 772-8876
Featured photo: Chicago Diner sells online gift cards (Steve Weishampel)