METRO EAST, Ill. – Some in Illinois are fed up with pandemic lockdowns and restrictions. More Metro East restaurants are defying the Illinois governor’s new COVID-19 closure order. That order was just issued Wednesday. FOX 2/News 11’s Dan Gray was in Waterloo where restaurants are illegally serving customers indoors.
Waterloo is becoming a sin city in Monroe County and some restaurant owners are trying to keep it on the down-low that they are illegally serving customers inside. But others aren’t afraid to make it known.
Waterloo restaurant owners are sticking together in the action. They say all the locally owned and national chains in town including Applebee’s and Denny’s have their dining rooms open. They all say they are following strict health department guidelines including mask-wearing, social distancing and disinfecting. Some establishments like Gallagher’s are promoting their movement in a Facebook post with the message: “yes we have indoor dining.” The owners say the governor is overstepping his authority and they don’t believe he can shut them all down.
Fredi Braho, owner of Frederico’s Ristorante said, “I have been told that it’s not breaking the law out—that’s what I’ve been told there is no such law to prevent it to keep them from coming in that’s what I’ve been told. I’m playing by the social distancing and all that I’m following all that the health department requires of us but I’m not going to shut it down.”
We know of at least a dozen Metro-East restaurants that are ignoring the governor’s order to stop indoor dining. Some have been visited by local and state police. Many people are commenting on social media saying they would help pay any fines restaurant owners may get from the state.