Bar, Restaurant Restrictions Announced For Springfield And West Central Illinois

Oct 29, 2020

Credit IDPH

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announce indoor service at bars and restaurants will be prohibited in Region 3 starting Sunday at 12:01 a.m.  It's an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, which is surging again in much of Illinois. The region is the ninth to have such mitigations imposed in recent days.

 Region 3 includes Springfield, Jacksonville and Quincy. Counties in the region are: Hancock, Adams, Pike, Calhoun, Jersey, Greene, Scott, Brown, Schuyler, Cass, Morgan, Macoupin, Montgomery, Christian, Sangamon, Logan, Menard, and Mason.

 The region has now sustained an average positivity rate of 8 percent or higher for three days, today hitting 8.8 percent. The rate was 4.6 percent in September. IDPH said Region 3 is experiencing triple the amount of COVID-related hospital admissions since early September.

 On Thursday, Gov. Pritzker outlined the resurgence of the disease across the state, pointing out the month of October has seen a 73% rise in hospitalizations while deaths are up 82%. At the same time, he faces pushback from Republicans and some Democrats over the tighter restrictions on bars and restaurants.

 Springfield Rep. Tim Butler and other GOP colleagues called on Democratic leaders to order a special legislative session to consider solutions. They argue the governor has failed to engage the General Assembly and hasn't provided enough transparency into COVID-19 numbers, especially regarding how the disease is spreading.

 Butler, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, is isolating at home, but spoke to reporters via Zoom.

 “We’re going to see a lot of people that don’t come back…who close up shop and don’t come back being a business anymore,” he said. Butler added the governor focused on the health crisis, but has not paid enough attention to the economic damage that is happening.

Mike Murphy, a Republican House member from Springfield and former restaurant owner, said the establishments have gone out of their way to provide a safe environment for customers and staff. He also said while the governor touts grants to help those suffering, the owners just want to be able to run their businesses.

 “Something has got to give, and these mitigations aim to cut down on those high-risk activities until we bring down the positivity rate in an area once again," Pritzker said. "Because let’s be clear: well-meaning and reasonable people can have fair disagreements about how and where to draw lines and connect dots – but when every single metric in every single corner of the state is trending poorly, we have to take meaningful action to keep our people safe.”

 Bars and restaurants will be able to provide outdoor service, but many have raised concerns about staying open during colder weather.

 

Mitigation measures taking effect November 1 in Region 3 include: 

Bars 

  • No indoor service 
  • All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m. 
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside 
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)  
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart  
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting 
  • No dancing or standing indoors 
  • Reservations required for each party 
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table 

Restaurants 

  • No indoor dining or bar service 
  • All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m. 
  • Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart 
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting 
  • Reservations required for each party  
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table 

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings 

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity 
  • No party buses 
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable 

These mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places.