Mask mandate for Illinois restaurant and bar patrons now in effect

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. – A new face mask mandate for restaurant and bar patrons in Illinois is now in effect in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you want to eat at a restaurant in Illinois like Fletcher’s Kitchen and Tap in Belleville, you must wear a mask when the wait staff or other employees come to your table, even if you’re sitting outdoors.

“I just don’t know where it’s going,” said customer Joe Stevens. “Today it’s one thing, tomorrow it’s the next; and I don’t know where it’ll ever end.”

Fletchers Kitchen and Tap co-owner Derek Betz said it’s something everybody has to do.

“The goal is having to get the positivity rest results down,” he said. “So in order to keep the positive test results down, we have to listen to our politicians, our mayors, and our governor in particular here.”

State health officials said the tougher restrictions are to stop the spread of the virus in the Metro East, which has an average regional positivity rate of 9.8 percent. It will have to drop to 6.5 percent or below for restrictions to be eased.

“We were talking earlier that I think in March and April, when this started, we’d be done by summertime and here it’s Fall already and we’re nowhere closer to a resolution,” Betz said.

Restaurant owners have been adjusting to the new rules almost on a weekly basis. Now, they fear the state may prohibit indoor dining in September.

“Going forward, you know, if we can get our positive tests down, we’re staring right down the barrel of no inside seating at all and going back to outside seating only. Again, it’s tough,” Betz said.

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