Will County Restaurant Owners Brace for Return to Outdoor-Only Dining

The mitigation rules do not apply in county directly to the north.

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The lunch rush at Paris Bistro in Naperville Wednesday looked more like an afternoon in May, when dining establishments across Illinois were only allowed to serve customers outdoors in an effort to fight the spread of coronavirus.

“Oh, no.  Not again.  It’s going to be very tough,” said co-owner Jonathan Santos.

The Illinois Department of Public Health placed indoor dining at bars and restaurants on hold in Will and Kankakee Counties for at least fourteen days starting Wednesday, due to rising positivity rates in coronavirus testing.

Santos and other restaurateurs in Will County are fearful of the impact on their sales.

“I don’t even know if we’re going to be able to survive,” Santos said.

Restaurants in nearby DuPage County are allowed to continue to serve customers indoors.

“Their numbers are better than our county and I would do whatever I have to do to get those numbers down,” said Corey Knowles, owner of Chop’d in Plainfield, also located in Will County.  “I want to see everyone safe and go home safe, but no one is going to come in here and pay my rent.”

Restaurant patrons across Illinois are also now required to wear masks when interacting with restaurant employees.

The restrictions will remain in effect for at least two weeks. After that, officials could withdraw the new rules, leave them in place, or add additional restrictions depending on what's happening to the area's positivity rate on coronavirus tests, according to state officials.

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