With Governor J.B. Prtizker's announcement that Illinois restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen their outdoor seating beginning May 29th, many restaurants are getting geared up for customers.
The move is part of Phase 3 of reopening Illinois.
TV6 spoke to River House Bar & Grill and Dead Poet's Espresso in Downtown Moline about how outdoor dining may look different. “I screamed, ‘Yes!’ arms in the air and everything -- fist pumps and all that,” said Charles Lahl, Dead Poet's Espresso Co-Owner.
Lahl said that was his reaction when he found out the news he could reopen his outdoor seating. “We can finally do that and say hi to someone again.”
Lahl said his business has taken a big hit. “It’s gotten better,” he said. “It’s going to keep getting better especially now that we can have people sitting around.”
Next door, River House employees were already starting to set up their outdoor seating.
“This is a push in the right direction,” said Christa Drumm, River House Bar & Grill General Manager. “It will allow small businesses to continue growing. It will keep us going and our employees employed.”
Drumm said River House employees are using tape measures to make sure tables are at least six feet apart.
Restaurant employees will continue to be required to wear face masks. As for customers, obviously they can’t wear masks when eating or drinking. However, Illinois officials still encourage people to wear masks in public when they’re able to. “We’ve been doing curbside for almost a month now,” Drumm said. “We’re excited to bring in more revenue and see people come in.”
Some places may make more outdoor seating available than they had before. “We can say, 'Hey we got tables,'” Lahl said. “We’re open. Come and sit.”