Restaurant owners react to additional mitigations


CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Bars and restaurants in another part of central Illinois will have to shut down indoor service.

This starts Monday for Region 6. There are 21 counties in that area, including Champaign, Vermilion and Macon counties. Region 6 had a positivity rate higher than 8 percent for three days in a row.

This will not last long if the positivity rate starts going down. These restrictions mainly focus on bars and restaurants. For example, they have to close at 11 p.m. and cannot open earlier than 6 a.m. You also cannot have more than six people at a table.

At Philo Tavern, they are trying to be optimistic. They plan to use their experience from before to help them moving forward. “We’re still able to use our beer garden, so we’ll have that ready to go and heated up and as comfortable as possible at this time, and we’re continuing to have to adapt,” said Sterling Bollman, Philo Tavern employee.

The owner of Hickory River Smokehouse in Urbana said they planned to open next week with a brand new bar.

The owner of Merry Ann’s just closed her campus location. She said these restrictions feel like they are targeting restaurants. She said, “There’s no end in sight. How are we supposed to pay our bills? My landlord is expecting rent.”

In order to get back to Phase 4 and back to having indoor dining, the region will need a positivity rate of less than 6.5 percent for three straight days. If that rate stays above 8 percent for 14 days, then the region will face even more restrictions.

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