Winnebago County businesses brace for more restrictions as COVID-19 positivity rate reaches warning level

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County reaching the 8% positivity rate threshold isn’t just cause for concern to the Governor, it also has the service industry worried.

Local business owners are worried that increased infections could mean changing how they operate again.

Patrick Alberto has owned the Octane restaurant for 14 months now, and it’s been a very tough time.

“Usually first years are celebrated with a party appreciating the customers and the team for their hard work and I feel like it’s going to be put on hold for quite some time,” said Alberto.

Any party may be put on hold even longer. With the region’s positivity rate at 7.5%, more mitigations efforts could be taken if hospitals also see an increase in patients.

“We don’t want to see it go back there but we feel if necessary we will be prepared to move forward,” said Benny Salamone, the owner of Franchescos.

Larger restaurants such as Franchescos say they constantly check the positivity rate, so they’re not caught by surprise.

“Is twice a day too much? Because it’s on our minds all the time always trying to prepare for anything and everything that happens on a daily basis,” Salamone explained.

The potential of going back to carry-out only would be devastating for many businesses.

“The revenue would drop by 75 percent and we would be just bare-bones throughout the first few months we just made enough money to pay the bills,” added Alberto.

Salamone says as much as he doesn’t want to take steps backwards, he says the business will be prepared to roll with the punches.

“We don’t want to see it go back there but we feel if necessary we will be prepared to move forward,” he added.

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