‘Absolutely not fair.’ Restaurant owners speak out against Region-wide COVID-19 mitigations


OGLE COUNTY, Ill. (WTVO) — Not all areas in Region 1 have positivity rates near the 8% threshold. Business owners in Stephenson and Ogle counties tell us that having to follow more coronavirus rules is unjust punishment.

Ogle and Stephenson counties have positivity rates well below 8% but because they are in Region 1, all restaurants and bars have to follow new rules and shut down indoor dining.

“It’s not fair, it’s absolutely not fair, not fair,” said Laura Powell.

Laura Powell has been a manager at Spring Valley Family Restaurant in Oregon for 15 years. She calls having to shut down again a disappointment.

“Right when we were getting the ball rolling again and thinking that things were going to be great, bam, we’re set back,” Powell, explained.

She says it is unfair to the restaurants who have been following the rules.

“I kind of think it’s a setback because Rockford is a lot larger than Oregon, Illinois and for us to be a part of that big number–it just doesn’t make sense,” Powell said.

She says she wishes things were handled differently.

“They should take it county-by-county or city-by-city. We were closed for 103 days to now being closed for another 14 or possibly longer. It’s a huge setback,” Powell added.

Not doing indoor dining means more work for Family Affair Restaurant in Freeport.

“I think the last I had seen the positivity rate for our county was only 5.3% so I feel like it’s not fair but I also feel like if everybody just did their part we could get through this faster,” said Owner Rebecca Ugalda.

Both restaurants say they will make the most out of the unusual situation.

“We’re trying to prepare the best we can because you never know what the outcome is going to be because it depends how long we’ll be closed,” said Ugalda.

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