Continue Indoor Dining
Despite Governor JB Pritzker implementing enhanced COVID-19 mitigations, some local restaurants continue indoor dining.
The mitigations went into effect on October 23 for Region 7 (Will and Kankakee) and Region 8 (DuPage and Kane) since both regions had positivity rates of 8% or higher for three consecutive days.
The following are some restaurants still open for indoor dining in Naperville:
Bottom’s Up Sports Bar & Grill, Up North Ale House, and Jackson Avenue Pub declined to comment.
At the time of this posting, The Lucky Penny Diner and Deli had not responded to our request for an interview.
Shakou Restaurants, which has a branch in Naperville, said in a statement on their website:
“Our decision to stay open is not a political statement. We do not think COVID-19 is a hoax, and take all safety guidelines, including masks very seriously. We are well aware of the detrimental impact the pandemic has had on our country, community, and customers. The health and wellbeing of our staff and customers remains our number one priority and all safety protocols will remain in place. We are remaining open because staff and ownership need to be able to earn a living, and our customers need a place to go to have some normalcy in their lives.”
According to the company’s announcement, they also plant to file a lawsuit against the governor and the “applicable health departments.”
Tap House Grill in Plainfield, recently shared a post on Facebook to explain why they have decided to stay open for indoor dining:
“In this back and forth that I’ve struggled with for awhile, where I laid awake each night, I’ve never once felt that I was comfortable in any decision that I would be making. It was incredibly challenging in any way. I wish I didn’t have to stay open. I wish I could just pay my staff through this. I wish my staff could just feed their families through this. I wish I could feed my family through this. But the reality of the situation is: I can’t. They can’t. We don’t have anything left. The reserves are gone. Our only option is to try and fight for another day.
You can find the full Facebook post here. At the time of this posting, Tap House Grill Plainfield had not responded to our request for an interview.
Response From Local Agencies
Governor Pritzker has previously mentioned bars and restaurants that do not comply may face consequences, such as suspended permits. The DuPage County Health Department said:
“It is our goal to work with establishments to ensure they are able to operate within the current mitigation requirements. While DCHD does have the authority to suspend the operating permits of food establishments, we hope that these facilities will work to protect the public’s health and will consider the significant level of COVID-19 transmission currently occurring in DuPage County.”
The DuPage County Board recently voted to grant $2.5 million in relief funds to bars and restaurants.
The City of Naperville said they would provide direct contact information to health departments for businesses who don’t comply. City of Naperville communications manager, Linda LaCloche said the following:
“The return to more restrictive COVID-19 mitigation measures in our community, including the suspension of indoor dining, is at its core a public health issue. While the state and county health departments have the primary enforcement role in these efforts, the City of Naperville is also responsible for protecting the health and safety of its citizens. To comply with this effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the City of Naperville will provide direct contact information for those agencies with enforcement capability to anyone who contacts us to report a business in violation of the state order.”
Though on Facebook, Mayor Steve Chirico posted a letter he sent to Governor Pritzker this week, asking him to rescind the indoor dining band based on data the mayor says indicates these locations are not leading COVID-19 transmission sources.
The full letter can be found here.
At today’s press briefing, Governor Pritzker addressed restaurant and bar owners.
“There’s no doubt that people who run businesses in the state, particularly restaurant owners and bar owners are suffering. As they are all across the nation if I might add,” said Pritzker. “The fact is that bars and restaurants are more dangerous places for spread. They’re really amplification points for people who are sick who go into a bar or restaurant. It’s very easily spread in that environment as many studies have shown. What we’re trying to do here is limit the cases, limit the hospitalizations and deaths.”
How to Ease Restrictions
The IDPH tracks the positivity rate in the regions, including Region 7 and Region 8.
Should the positivity rate average less than or equal to 6.5% over a 14-day period, the regions will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. If the positivity rate averages between 6.5% and 8%, the current mitigations will remain in place, and IDPH will continue to monitor the region to determine if additional restrictions are needed.
If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8% after 14 days, more stringent mitigations will be applied to further reduce spread of the virus.
As of October 27, Region 7 is at 10.5% and Region 8 is at 9.8%.
Naperville News 17′s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.