Pritzker to allow indoor dining sooner than expected

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — After many months, Stateline area bars and restaurants are getting closer to reopening for indoor dining.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that Region 1 could move to Tier 2 mitigations immediately, meaning video gaming machines can turn back on and professional and social groups can book reservations for up to ten people.

Patrick Gallaher, general manager of Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 Prairie St, says he’s happy to finally be able to seat some customers inside.

“One of the biggest things of it is, we’re moving in the right direction,” Gallaher said. “We want to definitely encourage and let people know that we have multiple rooms that can [seat] up to ten people for these type of things. If it’s a family event, things like that, that’s still an event, so we would definitely be happy for people to come in who haven’t been able to do that.”

Pritzker also announced some encouraging news for bars and restaurants, saying during a news conference that they can resume limited indoor service sooner than the original rules allowed if the COVID-19 metrics continue to improve. Under the new rules, restaurants will be allowed to resume indoor dining at 25% capacity or a maximum 25 customers if the region hits certain benchmarks, including a seven-day average positivity rate below 8% for three straight days.

“We’re looking forward to seeing everybody again. We hope that everybody is staying safe and is able to come back and support all the restaurants that can do anything and are doing things,” Gallaher said.

Nikko Castrogiovanni, owner of Baci’s Kitchen, 2990 N Perryville Rd #1100, said when indoor dining does officially return, he will be hiring more staff.

“We do have a large carry-out and curbside following, which has helped,” he said. “So, if we were able to sit inside, we’d need that, for sure.”

To enter Tier 1, a region must hit 3 health metrics:
*less than 8 percent test positivity rate for three consecutive days
*greater than 20 percent available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability
*declining COVID hospitalizations in 7 out of the last 10 days

Today, Region 1 is at 8.1% test positivity.

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