Some St. Clair County restaurants call on Gov. Pritzker to allow indoor dining

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ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – Some restaurant owners in St. Clair County feel it’s time for the state to allow indoor dining. One of the benchmarks used by the state to shut down dining rooms earlier this month was the positivity rate for what it considers Region 4, which includes seven counties.

The restaurant operators point to the positivity rates in St. Clair County as one reason they should be allowed to re-open dining rooms. The most recent 7-day average for the positivity rate in Region 4 was at 8.4 percent while the 7-day average for St. Clair County was 6.4 percent. The owners feel St. Clair County should be considered its own region.

“We’re doing what’s right,” said Kim Schewe, owner of TR’s Place and South Gate Saloon. “Let us open back up and we will practice the guidelines that we have been doing.”

“We need to get our doors open,” said Renae Eichholz, co-owner of Copper Fire Bar and Eatery. “We want the governor to know that we are willing to work with him.”

The owners want clear guidelines from the state and say they want to comply with measures that keep customers safe. Eichholz and Schewe feel they’re being penalized for following the rules while positivity rates in other areas of the region are higher. They believe they are losing customers to businesses that are no

“To keep us shut down any longer is going to put us out of business,” Schewe said.

Some of the key points Eichholz and Schewe hope to share with the governor include:

  • Our group thinks that compliant bars/restaurants/venues should stand alone and apart from the non-compliant businesses. We should be recognized and published as compliant, at least at each local level.
  • This will allow the local and state agencies to easily see those that are compliant and those that are not. The local and state agencies can then be able to patrol and enforce more efficiently.
  • The compliant bars/restaurants/venues should be rewarded for their efforts, not penalized because of others’ “bad behavior.”
  • If additional funding is available, consideration to the financial state of these businesses should not hinder them from funding and should move them to the top of the list as their business finances have been in greater distress.
  • Our group is willing to commit to ongoing safety and social distancing guidelines as are followed by the other business “types” already operating with inside operations.
  • Our group wants to put our plan in front of the Governor and work together.

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