Restaurant owners out in California have initiated formal requests for rebates on funds they’ve paid to the state, county or municipality for permits, liquor fees, etc. since they have not been legally able to operate. Currently, most restaurants in the state are limited to 25% of capacity, and even under the best of COVID circumstances, no more than 50% of capacity. Notwithstanding, they had been required to pay 100% of their fees, permits, etc. and now allege that those payments constitute “unlawful taxation, fees, and/or charges that were collected”. The formal request for refunds seems to be a precursor to lawsuits against the government to reclaim those and other monies. In Ohio just one week after worker compensation rebate checks – to the tune of $1.34 Billion – were being mailed out to help businesses stay afloat and cope with the pandemic fallout, Governor Mike DeWine announced a new request to the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) for an additional $5 Billion in additional employer rebates! The funds come from worker compensation payments that employers have regularly made to cover anticipated worker compensation claims, but with businesses being closed or at least minimized, fewer claims have been filed. As a spike of COVID infections continues across parts of Illinois, the governor has ordered the closing of all indoor dining again in Chicago effective today. He also ordered that strict limits on the size of gatherings will again be enforced with no more than 25 allowed at private gatherings and 25% of capacity at other events. Following the Governor’s order, Mayor Lori Lightfoot imposed a 10:00 PM nightly curfew on all bars and restaurants with liquor sales stopping at 9:00 PM. Yesterday, she backtracked somewhat and changed the curfew to 11:00 PM, in line with Pritzker’s initial mandate. As we advised you last week, a business shield law had been passed by the Michigan legislature and sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her signature along with a number of other bills. HB6030 has been signed by the Governor so Michigan businesses now enjoy limited liability against claims of COVID-19 infections retroactive to March 2020. Finally, in New York City, restaurant workers this week joined their employers to rally for a loosening of the city restrictions that are strangling many New York restaurants. Rally participants were urging that restaurants be allowed indoor dining up to 50% of capacity, a doubling of the current limit of 25% capacity.