Monticello, Ill. (WCIA) —
“Covid has been a time where we’ve all felt disconnected from each other,” Sarah Probst Miller, Monarch Events Center Co-Landlord, said.
People could start to re-connect as the state opens again, but what is that going to look like? Major life moments and events were put on hold during the pandemic, but this summer could look a lot different than last. While health officials are still warning people be careful, businesses are preparing for Covid restrictions to change.
“We hope as we all get vaccinated and things are safer that we can get together, and that’s really our goal for the place, for it to be a place where people can reconnect,” Probst Miller said.
Last year, weddings and events were canceled and businesses were forced to shut down, but now there’s looking like a light at the end of the tunnel.
“The positive is that we can do things, we just have to understand that there’s different opportunities based on each phase as we move forward,” Shelly Crawford-Stock, Executive Director of Monticello Chamber of Commerce and Monticello Main Street, said.
As the state of Illinois continues to re-open, more events are being planned for summer.
“A lot of our places are planning events so that they’re outdoors, they can be spread out. It give everybody an opportunity with what they’re comfortable with,” Crawford-Stock said.
Illinois is currently in Phase 4 of the re-opening process, but the next step for the state is the bridge from Phase 4 to Phase 5, which means 250 people indoors for social events and 500 outdoors.
Spectator events and conferences also will be at 60% capacity, which would be good for places like Monarch Events Center in Monticello.
“I think we’re cautious. Number one, like everyone, we want what is best for human safety first,” Probst Miller said.
Monarch Events Center used to be a restaurant and brewery. The pandemic made it difficult for lots of restaurants to stay open, so the owners closed the brewery, did some renovations, and are now open as an event center. They hope for people to safely be with one another.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, perhaps its a place where folks can spread out, and have a safe gathering. Its also a nice, very large space where, you know, following state regulations, we can gather and help folks celebrate these important times of their live,” Probst Miller said.
The Monticello Chamber of Commerce has all their future events on their Facebook page.
Currently we are still in Phase 4 of the re-opening process, which means indoor social events have to be less than 50 people or 50% capacity, and outdoor social events can only have less than 100 people or 50% capacity. The bridge to Phase 5 can only happen if 70% of people 65 and older have received their first dose of the vaccine, or if there’s no increase in Covid-19.
Currently, we are close to reaching that 70%, but hospitalizations and the positivity rate of Covid-19 has increased.