ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – Metro East restaurants are supposed to be closed inside per orders from Governor J.B. Pritzker. Many remain open but won’t always tell you over the phone.
FOX 2 sampled responses from more than a half dozen St. Clair County businesses and found a different response almost every time.
The Fairview Heights Show Me’s on 200 Lincoln Highway told us by phone Wednesday, “Yes, you can eat inside.”
Nearby, at Taqueria Olvera at 335 Market Place, we were told we could eat, “Outside only.”
At TGIFriday’s at 6900 N Illinois Street, an employee said we would have to eat outside only, but added that they have heated tents outside.
That’s next door to Lotawata Creek at 311 Salem Place: “We’re open inside, starting at 5 p.m., unless the state does stuff.”
Based on state orders, the St. Clair County Health Department is sending sheriff’s deputies to give warnings to anyone allowing inside dining, or anyone who doesn’t enforce customers wear masks. After three violations, a restaurant could face fines starting at $75.
That could be why some restaurants did not give us a clear answer when we called.
Down the road in O’Fallon, Illinois, 1310 Central Park Drive at Syberg’s, we were told to “hold on a minute” when we asked about eating inside. The employee returned to the phone to say, “I can’t comment on that, but we want you to eat as comfortably as you would like.”
During a personal visit we found that meant a packed parking lot and a waiting list to eat inside.
At the nearby Hotshots on the other hand, an employee emphatically answered, “Yes, you can absolutely eat inside.”
At nearby Chevy’s, located at 1305 Central Park Dr., an employee said, “o indoor dining” while pointing out that it set up an outside tent with heat lamps.
At 1160 Central Park Drive, at Drake’s in O’Fallon, we were told we could come inside, but that the garage doors are open so it’s like a patio atmosphere. When we visited, we found a busy restaurant with people waiting to get in. We also confirmed the garage door walls surrounding the restaurant were open so that you could see completely through the establishment.
Tell us what you’re finding that you think is unusual – or maybe a unique solution you’ve seen at a restaurant. Contact reporter Chris Hayes through his Facebook page or through his email email@example.com.