Many Region businesses and organizations plan to close Wednesday when wind chills could reach 30 degrees to 50 degrees below zero.
Much of the Region will be hunkered down from the potential record cold when Chicagoland will reportedly be colder than Alaska, Siberia, the South Pole, Mount Everest and even Mars.
Businesses that plan to shutter their doors during the extreme cold Wednesday include the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets in Michigan City, Courthouse Shops in Crown Point, AMC Showplace 16 and 12 in Schererville, the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Float Sixty in Schererville, the Eclipse Performing Arts Centre in Chesterton and the Clean Air Car Check Vehicle Emissions in Lake and Porter counties.
Strack & Van Til is closing all 20 stores at 8 p.m. Wednesday and not reopening until 8 a.m. Thursday. It normally closes at 11 p.m. and opens at 6 a.m.
"With this unprecedented weather, we decided that for the safety of our associates, managers and customers that this was the right decision to make," President Jeff Strack said. "The Strack & Van Til delivery service and pick-up service will be available during store hours for those customers wanting to limit their time outside."
All three Region counties' Meals on Wheels programs — LaPorte Meals on Wheels, the VNA of Northwest Indiana Meals on Wheels in Porter County and Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana in Lake County — will not send volunteers out on deliveries on Wednesday and Thursday because of the unsafe weather conditions.
"Clients can use the extra shelf-stable meals they received in December from Meals on Wheels for weather-related emergencies," Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana Director of Development Rachel Hurst said. "The extra meals also include information about emergency warming centers. In addition, Meals on Wheels delivered extra blankets, hats, gloves, and socks to seniors in early January, provided by generous donors. Regular meal delivery will resume on Friday."
Some of the many closed restaurants include Burgerhaus in Valparaiso and Schererville, Asparagus in Merrillville, Lighthouse in Cedar Lake, Patrick's Grille in Michigan City, Tomato Bar in Valparaiso and Schererville, and El Salto in Munster, Merrillville, Schererville, Chesterton, Valparaiso and Portage, which vowed to "take our revenge on the ice Thursday by crushing it, mixing it with tequila and lime, and serving it."
Breweries that won't open Wednesday include 3 Floyds in Munster, Shoreline Brewery in Michigan City, Windmill Brewing in Dyer, New Oberpfalz Brewing in Griffith, and 18th Street Brewery in Gary and Hammond.
Some had a sense of humor about it.
"Due to Snow Miser's bitter grip on the region we will be closing today at 9:00 with no kitchen service, closed all day Wednesday and reopen Thursday normal hours," Wildrose Brewing in Griffith posted on its Facebook page. "Stay warm!"
Coffee shops that will close their doors include the Librarium Cafe in Hobart, Temple News Agency and Coffee Studio in LaPorte, Anna's Kombucha Cafe in Gary, Grindhouse Cafe in Griffith, Sip Coffee House II in Highland, Sip in Crown Point and Uptown Cafe in Crown Point and Valparaiso.
Multiple business offices will be closed until at least Thursday, including Meridian Title Corp in Crown Point, Heights Finance and General Insurance in Michigan City, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority in Hammond and the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, which is closed on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Other assorted business closures across Northwest Indiana include Elements Wine Bar in Chesterton, TradeWinds Services in Merrillville, Wright's Flowers and Gifts in Michigan City, Studio Allegro in Valparaiso, Commercial Vehicle Group in Michigan City, Woodland Child Development Center in Hammond and Platinum Gymnastics in Michigan City.
Many more businesses are likely closed or are weighing whether to close. Anyone considering braving the bitter elements might want to call ahead to make sure they're open.