CHICAGO (CBS) — A drop in the positivity rate in Will and Kankakee counties also gave bars and restaurants the green light for indoor service.
Governor JB Pritzker slapped restrictions on them weeks ago, because of rising COVID-19 cases.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves reports on a restaurant that’s trying to recover from a financial hit.
Bolingbrook sits on the border of Will County, so owners watched business take a short drive to the next restaurant. They were so happy, they got a head start on opening. Because they said a tent for outdoor dining really didn’t help at all.
Sales tanked. And workers were so anxious to get people in, they didn’t even take down the outdoor seating only sign.
“We have a lot of older clientele, so they just refuse to sit outside,” said server Lisa Skinner.
Now, tables are socially distanced. Masks are over familiar faces that finally returned. People are now spending money amid dropping sales. Many just took their business across the county border.
After three weeks of special restrictions, restaurants and bars in will county can have customers indoors and return to longer hours.
It came as the region, which includes Kankakee County, saw its COVID-19 rolling average positivity rate higher than 8% for three days straight.
So, what was the key to getting back on track?
“In my opinion, it was increased testing.”
That’s the response from Kankakee County Board Chairman Andrew Wheeler. Governor JB Pritzker mainly attributes it to handwashing, masks and distancing.
Wheeler agrees, but is looking forward to seeing data that proves closing down parts of restaurants and bars plays a significant role.
“And this is in Kankakee and Will county, a lot of them stayed open. And that’s why I question the data. I don’t think it was the cause or the solution of an increased or a reduced rate of infection.” Wheeler said.