Indoor dining allowed in Illinois Region 5, Metro East still in most restrictive tier

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ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that Region 5 moved to tier 1 mitigations, which allows indoor dining.

Region 5 includes the following counties:

  • Alexander
  • Edwards
  • Franklin
  • Gallatin
  • Hamilton
  • Hardin
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Johnson
  • Marion
  • Massac
  • Perry
  • Pope
  • Pulaski
  • Saline
  • Union
  • Wabash
  • Wayne
  • White
  • Williamson

This announcement did not include any counties in the Metro East, which is considered Region 4. The announcement is causing frustration for restaurants eager to welcome guests inside. Region 4, which includes St. Clair County, has not been able to open indoor dining since November 20.

Silent sounds wouldn’t typically fill a Sunday at Casa Maria, but its the new normal that’s become all too familiar for the Belleville restaurant. “Usually we’re full, tables are full, we have sometimes even wait and like as you can see right now, there’s nothing, we haven’t even had the phone ring in probably like 30 minutes,” Casa Maria Manager Kierra Hennings said.

She said the differences in rules across regions and even across state lines can get frustrating.

“People can drive just across the river, 20 minutes in the other direction, sit down and eat, but here they have no option but to-go, and we see that, even we ourselves can even go across but it’s better for us to sit, stay and support small businesses in our area, which is what I hope people will do,” she added.

The following metrics need to be reached before Illinois’ restrictions allow the metro east region to move to a less restrictive tier:

  • < 12% positivity rate (7-day rolling average, 3 consecutive days)
  • 20% or higher available ICU and medical beds (7-day rolling average, 3 consecutive days)
  • Decline in COVID-19 hospital patients (7-day rolling average in 7/10 days)

According to IDPH, region 4’s positivity rate has been in the green, but the other two metrics are still in the red, not allowing the move from tier 3 to tier 2.

According to IDPH, this is what is allowed under Tier 1 in region 5:

Bars and Restaurants

  • Indoor service limited to lesser of 25% or 25 people per room
  • Establishment must serve food for indoor service
  • Reservations required and limited to 2 hours
  • No tables exceeding 4 people indoors
  • Bars and restaurants close at 11 p.m. and may reopen no earlier than 6 a.m. the following day

Meetings, social events, and gatherings (including weddings, funerals, potlucks, etc.)

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity both indoors and outdoors
  • Applicable to professional, cultural and social group gatherings
  • Not applicable to students participating in-person classroom learning, or sports
  • This does not reduce the overall facility capacity dictated by general Phase 4 business guidance such as office, personal care, retail, etc.

Organized group recreational activities (fitness centers, sports, etc.)

  • Sports should follow the mitigation measures set forth in the All Sport Guidelines, which outlines appropriate levels of practice and competition based on individual sport risk
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times in fitness centers, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing

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