CHICAGO (CBS) — Indiana shattered its previous records for daily cases and hospitalizations with more than 6,600 new cases and 51 confirmed deaths Thursday, and rolled back restrictions go into effect Sunday. However, they don’t apply to bars and restaurants. Unlike in Illinois where indoor dining is off limits, it’s OK in Indiana.
CBS 2’s Steve Graves found some business owners are banking on people from Illinois dining in.
In Munster the Buttermilk Pancake House’s advertising strategy is a clear sign of the times. A sign out front reads “Dining Room Open.”
“We get a lot of phone calls from people in Illinois asking if our dining room is open,” said owner Sam Yfantis said. “We probably get more than a dozen phone calls a day.”
Add that crowd to the loyal Indiana customers, and he said it only makes sense to stay open inside even as some businesses around him have closed.
“We don’t want to leave them left out. We want them to come in and enjoy their meal. We’re taking as many precautions as we can,” Yfantis said.
Langel’s Pizza in Highland is sanitizing every 30 minutes. Masks are required to enter.
“It’s very, very slow with dine in,” said said head chef Maggie Grivetti.
Any indoor ban would take away that little income, supplemented by the growing carry-out crowd.
“It’s obviously a fear. I hope it doesn’t happen,” said Grivetti.
But Lake County continues to show high case counts. State data shows its positivity rate, along with Porter County, is close to 14%. In Marion County, which is home to Indianapolis, the rate is close to 10%.
The reality has hit Langel’s. It had a COVID-19 scare with two workers.
“We closed the restaurant, totally cleaned with hospital grade chemicals, and that’s all we can do,” Grivetti said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb’s main response to the statewide uptick is a cap on gatherings, and restaurants must enforce rules such as masks and social distancing.
“I assume down the line he’s going to reevaluate and we’ll see where it goes,” Grivetti said.
The state’s positivity rate is about 10%. Illinois started ramping up its indoor dining restrictions when the state hit around 6%.
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