ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Governor J.B. Pritzker’s new mandate restricting indoor dining in our region goes into effect in two days, but many Stateline restaurant and bar owners aren’t sure if they’re going to comply.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow because it’s going to be tough to survive off of indoor dining not being around these months,” said Ryan Asta owner of Louie’s Tap House.
Asta along with dozens of other local owners packed into Giovanni’s in Rockford to learn about the options they have should they choose to go against the governor’s new mandate.
“Really just know you know what’s a law what’s not a law what’s a guideline what’s a fear factor so we’re trying to figure that out before we make this decision on Saturday,” said Asta.
Illinois attorney Thomas DeVore led Thursday night’s session to inform owners about their legal rights and possible consequences should they defy the mandate.
“I had significant amount of business owners reach out to me and say if we have to shut down indoor dining especially this time of year it’s going to bankrupt us and what can we do about that,” said DeVore.
The question owners want to know is can region one businesses legally stay open for indoor dining?
“My answer is yes,” said Asta.
Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell also weighed in saying:
“The Winnebago County Health Department has worked with bars and restaurants in our community throughout the pandemic. Despite the financial challenges to their businesses and the greater community, they adapted and implemented the strategies to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. We trust that they will thoughtfully consider all the impacts and will continue to follow the guidelines to protect the community. These are challenging times for all. We ask our community to rally and support them by ordering curbside and enjoying their outside venues.”
Regardless of what they decide to do owners say its up to the people to choose whether or not they want to dine.
‘You’re going to get feedback either way and we’re willing to hear it at this point and we want to hear it honestly,” said Asta.