Brewery prepares to reopen


URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign County is set to transition on time to phase three of the governor’s plan. It allows bars and restaurants to reopen for outdoor seating starting May 29th.

That means for most business owners, Friday cannot come fast enough.

Riggs Beer Company in Urbana has been getting by with curbside service and wholesale since March, but it’s lost out on perhaps the best of the brewery.

“A big part of our business is the big, giant beer garden and tap room that we have here…that for the last couple months has been pretty quiet,” says co-owner Matt Riggs.

He is ready to get back to normal beer business.

“That’s my favorite part of it…[beer] brings people together. I know we can’t really bring people too close together right now, but this is a positive step,” says Riggs.

Staff will welcome customers back into the beer garden on the 29th under new guidelines.

“I’m really excited for just being open again, and working through the kinks so that eventually things can go back to normal,” says employee Katie Carrillo.

Instead of ordering indoors at the bar, Riggs will have outdoor stations set up for customers. People will pick up their drinks at designated areas and take it back to their tables to limit contact. Employees will wear masks, and those tables will be placed six feet apart.

Riggs says the spacing may limit the number of people allowed in the beer garden, but he’s still waiting on more clarification from the city to answer questions like that.

“I’m probably speaking on behalf of all restaurant and bar owners. Please have patience for all the places you go to because this is new to us, just like it’s new to everybody else trying to get back out into the world like this,” says Riggs. “We’re trying to do this in a responsible manner.”

City leaders in Champaign and Urbana are also working on plans for businesses that don’t have a lot of outdoor space. Ideas include: downtown picnic parks on closed streets or using restaurant parking lots.

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