“My business has had next to zero income since the middle of March. You’re never going to recover that kind of money. You can’t make up a prom. It’s gone. Twenty-four years in business and [I have] never have had to face a month with no income.

“I am a Vietnam veteran and grew up in the Pilsen area. I was driving a truck and then I became a part of management until they sold the business.

“Our business is family owned and has been in business for 24 years.

“We have a small fleet for mostly weddings, special occasions and some travel.

“[We had] only a few drive-by graduations in the past month. All weddings have been canceled or postponed. There’s no proms, travel or nights out. What we were supposed to be doing got pushed back to the fall. The fall weddings aren’t there now. Couples are still scared that fall weddings will get canceled by the hall due to size [restrictions].

“You have to depend on future revenues to pay [loans] back. In the wedding industry, you earn your money through the proms in summer to hold you off through the winter. That’s what we did and all of the sudden, this hit. Now you have to dig into your own pocket, but when do you pay yourself back? That’s money that I was counting on.

“Companies that have lost a lot are going to take a couple years to get it back. Nobody wants to increase their prices because everyone is afraid. What we charge now is what we’ve been charging for 20 years.

“I think it is moving very slowly because the people have not taken it seriously enough to move forward. The protesters, looters and rioters have proven that. If we get another spike because of them, the state will just say ‘I told you so’ and we will go into another lock down.

“Do you start downsizing your fleet? You certainly can’t buy new equipment.

“It’s a spider web of things. They don’t realize how much this all affects everything. They don’t realize every July 1st the gas tax goes up. Eventually it’s going to affect my business.

“The governor needs to start opening this up. If I’m hurting, these banquet halls really got to be hurting. They depend on that money [from events].

“It should open by cities. Many small towns and cities are very low in cases and can control the situation more appropriately. Then people can go to their own [events] and can go out. Right now, the governor is telling you this whole section of Illinois is closed. They’re locking me in with Chicago.

“Being optimistic, once this is gone for a couple of months, they’ll start booking again. People are going to have to go back out there to make connections again. You’re going to have to talk to people face to face. We’re just going to stay our course and hope people find us and book us and get us back to where we need to be.”

Mike Stahulak
Owner, Royalty Limousines
Burbank, Illinois