Restaurants and bars prepare for Phase 5


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Tomorrow is a day a lot of people have been waiting for. There are no capacity limits at businesses or venues. Restaurants and bars are expecting to see more people. It’s the night before Phase 5 and businesses are waiting to finally reopen to full capacity.

“Seeing more faces is going to be great,” said Bob Sarver, a bartender at Blind Pig Brewery. “Just seeing peoples’ faces I think that’s going to be the best part.”

At Blind Pig Brewery in Champaign, masks will not be required for those who are vaccinated.

It will be based on an honor system.

Bartender Bob Sarver says he’s excited for the change.

“Yeah, a little surreal,” said Sarver. “It feels pretty great though too, so I’m glad it’s happening. Just getting back to a sense of normalcy. Having a full bar.”

A few blocks away at Neil St. Blues, employees will continue to wear masks.

This is to happen maintain a certain comfort level for guests.

Visitors are also being asked to wear masks if they’re not vaccinated.

“Throughout the entire pandemic, we’ve basically been taking things one day at a time,” said Gayle Starks, the owner of Neil St. Blues. “And that’s basically our approach for phase 5. We’re excited that we finally made it to phase 5 but it’s been nice to kind of gradually work out way up to that point.”

The restaurant is also looking to have more live entertainment.

Over the last several weeks, management says their calendar will be filling up with events.

“This is certainly a relief to get to this point,” said Starks. “When COVID first started, we thought that it was going to maybe be a couple of weeks of us sort of blocking down and getting through this, and then it kept going on and on and into the winter. So after going through this for some time, it is a sense of relief to finally be getting back to normal.”

Neil St. Blues is also looking for more staff. For more information, email

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