Illinois business owners react to statewide minimum wage increase

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PARIS, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV)– Illinois state officials raised minimum wage rates up to $10 on July 1, 2020.

Trisha Vitale owns Fizz Soda Shop and Eatery in Paris, IL. She said the timing of the increase is inconvenient.

“It’s devastating for small business owners especially doing right in the midst of the pandemic. People are holding on by a thread, if not holding on at all right now. To continually increase minimum wage in the midst of it is honestly in my opinion absolutely ridiculous,” Vitale said.

The recent increase is a part of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s plan to increase minimum wage up to $15 by 2025.

Vitale said she’ll have to cut her staff and work with less to keep her business alive.

“We’re going to do our best with what we have to work with. But we do have to be able to survive at this point in time as well. So we’ll do more with less and continue to serve the best that we can,” she said.

Eno Vitale, owner of Joe’s Pizza in Paris, IL, said the new hire process will affect his business greatly.

“That’s cost you $3,000 on payroll because you’ve got to put them with other people to train them. Then all of a sudden, they’re like yeah you know I don’t want to work. I’m going to go find something else. Then you have to start all over. The impact is just always turning and turning and turning,” he said.

He said he believes the increases will eventually cause him to downsize.

“Eventually I think we’re probably going to build a new place where you just come up to the counter and i call your number and you pick up your pizza. We can’t afford to have all these people on staff and pay them 15 dollars an hour. You just can’t do it,” he said.

Minimum wages for employees under the age 18 will remain at $8 until 2021.

Employers may pay staff who receive tips 60% of the hourly minimum wage rates.

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