Toia was noticeably missing from the November 5 press conference where the mayor announced emergency relief grants for Chicago restaurants and bars. By then, he was on to bigger things — namely, advocating for federal restaurant stimulus funds. Early on, he’d been an optimistic team player for statewide messaging on business restrictions. When those restrictions started to bite as the COVID crisis dragged on, Toia became a consummate political tactician, pushing back against indoor dining bans without alienating the governor, with whom Toia has spoken regularly throughout the crisis, while reining in angry restaurateurs, who might have invited a harsher crackdown had they flouted the bans in large numbers, as happened in other states.