Wintrust Business Lunch 3/24/20: Jon Najarian shares his stock tip of the day, Big Star converts into an ongoing headquarters for the Restaurant Workers Relief program and how the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association is partnering with the city to combat the spread of COVID-19

Wintrust Business Lunch

Ji Suk Yi hosts today’s edition of the Wintrust Business Lunch for Tuesday, March 24th.

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Segment 1: (At 0:00) Jon Najarian, CNBC Contributor & Co-founder of Najarian Family Office, weighs in as U.S. stocks advanced Tuesday on hopes that Congress would pass a stimulus bill to shield the economy from the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, Najarian’s stock picks that he considers good buying opportunities. 

Segment 2: (At 8:21) The Restaurant Workers Relief program is providing 250 to-go dinners and a bag of groceries to recently unemployed restaurant workers who are in dire need of food and supplies (identification and paystub must be presented). A partnership by LEE Initiative and One Off Hospitality (Big Star, The Publican, Avec, Blackbird), will be headquartered at Big Star in the Wicker Park neighborhood, 1531 N. Damen Avenue, starting at 5 p.m. tonight (3/24) until supplies run out. Chef Edward Lee hopes they’ll continue the program for at least two weeks and explains there will be stringent policies in place to distribute meals in a safe way – including standing in line six feet apart. Visit this site to contribute: Restaurant Workers Relief Program

Segment 3: (At 17:45) Chicago plans to rent thousands of hotel rooms for use by those who need to self-isolate due to infection or potential exposure to COVID-19. The hotel rooms will serve a variety of people including health care workers who worry about exposing their families if they return home, those with mild cases of coronavirus but cannot self isolate at home, people displaced from shelters and the homeless. The hotel industry is reeling from COVID-19 fears and its effect on corporate travel restrictions, convention cancellations and the decline in overall tourism. President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, Michael Jacobson, explained this won’t make hotels money but will provide some revenue to weather the storm in maintaining a few staff members as more hotels are closing by the day and are awaiting property tax relief and government aid. It’s also a way for the hotel industry to contribute and help in this fight against the coronavirus pandemic. 

Segment 4: (At 27:19) WGN Radio’s business reporter Amy Guth highlights some trending local business stories including: Before COVID-19, Mayor Lightfoot was concerned the city could lose billions of dollars in the 2020 headcount, now it’s even worse and she’s calling on postponing the 2020 census. Hyatt Hotels Corporation will furlough or significantly reduce the schedules of two-thirds of its U.S. corporate employees as the company cuts costs in the wake of coronavirus. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced an unusual partnership with two business groups– Illinois Manufacturers Association and Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization– to scale up production of masks and ventilators and launching a fund to purchase more medical equipment needed to fight the COVID-19 epidemic.

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