CHICAGO (CBS) — Indiana is welcoming Illinois residents with open arms as the state prepares to slowly reopen. Northwest Indiana is only a quick drive away, and the reality is folks sick of staying at home in Illinois will likely cross the border. And restaurants are pumped to get the business from anywhere.
House of Pizza in Hammond, Indiana, appears busy, but the reality since the COVID-19 pandemic is business dipped 40%.READ MORE: Brian Hall, 25, Charged After Shots Fired At Chicago Police Officer In West Garfield Park
“The past couple weeks have been nothing short of a rollercoaster,” says owner Danny Zunica.
He says it’s hard to figure how much dough to prepare when you don’t know who’s eating out. The family owned business still operates from the spot Danny’s grandfather opened back in 1954.
“When he first started, it was just small pickup and delivery place,” he said.
And for more than a month now they’ve gone back to their roots — takeout only. But come May 18, Indiana restaurants will be allowed to serve dine-in customers again.
“It’s the news we’ve been waiting for, you know,” Zunica said.READ MORE: 3 Dead, 2 In Critical Condition After Shooting In Kenosha, Wisconsin
Friday Indiana’s governor opted to ease the Hoosier state’s stay-at-home restriction, and with House of Pizza right across the Illinois border, Zunica is gearing up for who may cross over to dine in.
“I think people will come over,” he said. “I definitely think there are some people who want to get out and get that normalcy back.”
Yet in Illinois there is no change. Gov. JB Pritzker has not budged on his extended stay-at-home orders. Restaurants in Illinois remain shuttered.
For now the House of Pizza dining room is undergoing renovations before reopening, but Zunica empathizes with owners in Illinois.
“I do feel for them,” he said. “I hope the country as a whole gets going. The sooner the better.”MORE NEWS: 5-Year-Old Boy Found Walking Around Belmont CTA Station
There are some restrictions for when Indiana restaurants reopen: people will need to sit at small tables and not at the bar and only 50% capacity is allowed.