BELLEVILLE, Ill. —
After more than two months of shutdown, many Illinois businesses now have the chance to reopen under new guidelines outlined in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.
Many restaurants were closed for six weeks in Belleville before being allowed to provide curbside options for customers.
Beginning Friday, they now have the option to host dine-in services — outside.
Copper Fire Bar and Eatery owner Renae Eichholz said it’s been a difficult road to get to this point.
“Roller coaster of emotions,” Eichholz said. “Not sure what was gonna happen, if we could even reopen. We opened about four weeks ago with curbside delivery.”
The city of Belleville closed three streets downtown for 90 days to ensure restaurants have the appropriate amount of outdoor space to set up tables and serve customers, all while maintaining a social distance.
Eichholz said this option provides hope for local businesses, for now.
“It’s giving us a chance to not just have to be closed down for 60 days and not know what to do,” Eichholz said.
Employees at these businesses are required to wear face coverings at all times if 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained, according to Belleville guidelines.
Copper Fire made menus and payment services available online to minimize physical contact between employees and customers.
Eichholz said they are taking all necessary steps to ensure dine-in services are conducted safely.
“We’ve turned to a counter service and pickup,” Eichholz said. “So, we will be calling out names and numbers so they can come and pick up their own food, it will be touchless.”
Belleville resident Sabrina Jones said she felt safe eating outdoors at Copper Fire and is grateful to eat out after more than two months spent at home.
“It just gives you a sense of relaxation,” Jones said. “Ease the tension a little bit. Be back to a sense of norm.”
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker still has not given an exact date on when businesses will be allowed to reopen dining indoors.
Pritzker announced Thursday that Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan could begin as soon as late June but that nothing is guaranteed.