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Tighter restrictions close Illinois entertainment centers, casinos, theatres on Friday

Illinois

BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Tighter restrictions go into effect in Illinois starting Friday at 12:01 a.m. to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Edge, an entertainment center in Belleville, Illinois, is forced to close its indoor entertainment area, but its outdoor dining room can stay open.

“We’ll have 82,000 square-feet of empty building generating zero revenue and we’ll have a 3,000 square foot patio in the cold, trying to get a little breadcrumbs of dining service we can to try to sustain us,” said Keith Shell, The Edge managing partner. “Twenty-six years and we’ve had a lot of challenges, there’s no doubt, but this one takes the cake, nothing could have prepared us for this.”

Inside The Edge you’ll find movie theatres, a sports bar, go-karts, laser tag, casino games, and arcade games, which will all be shut down Friday.

Businesses that are not forced to close must operate at a limited capacity. Gyms, big box and retail stores are down to 25 percent capacity, while grocery stores and pharmacies are capped at 50 percent capacity, right before the holidays.

The Edge also has an outdoor patio which they will continue to operate, while the rest of the business is shut down. Shell said that will help his employees, but he worries about the future.

“They have families, they have a mortgage, they have needs and we can’t abandon them, we have to be better than this,” Shell said.

Amanda Jones has been a bartender and manager at The Edge for three years. She said she is used to a packed bar and restaurant, but the last nine months have been tough.

“Honestly, its mentally exhausting, not being able to afford as much as I used to be able to,” Jones said. “The people that come in, some of them aren’t the nicest because they don’t like the restrictions, I mean I don’t like them ether, but we all have to deal with it.”

Some families went to The Edge Thursday night, before restrictions went into effect.

“My son turned 5, so he just wanted to come out and enjoy himself, before the big lockdown,” said Chyniece Manuel, a customer at The Edge.

Shell said he understands the need to close some businesses because hospitals are nearing capacity, but he believes there should be more help for small businesses during this time.

“Here we are, going into a dark time, where we all need to be closed because we need to stop the spread,” Shell said. “We have to have relief, have to, it has to come.”

Restrictions:

  • Indoor gaming terminals at bars and restaurants suspended.
  • All bars and restaurants close by 11:00 pm.
  • Gyms limited to 25% capacity. Face covering must be worn at all times.
  • Hotel event and meeting space are closed.
  • Gaming and casinos will close.
  • Indoor rec centers, including theatres, will close.
  • Limit in-home gatherings to household members only.
  • No party buses.
  • Funerals are limited to 10 family members.
  • All employees who can work remotely should.
  • Outdoor recreation is still allowed.
  • Big box and retail limited to 25% capacity. This includes convenience stores.
  • Grocery and pharmacies may operate at 50 % capacity.

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