Local businesses react to Tier 3 mitigations set to begin Friday

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS, (WMBD) — The state is taking a step down the ladder as health officials try to rewind the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

Governor J.B Pritzker announced, Tuesday, the state will move to Tier 3 mitigations starting Friday. He specified it’s not a stay-at-home order, but rather a precaution to prevent another one from taking place.

Many local businesses are still trying to recover from the state’s spring shutdown and some business owners said they fear going back to Tier 3 mitigations which mean another drop in sales and others think they will have to shut down all together.

Jessica Stephenson, the owner of Lit on Fire Used Books in Peoria, said she’s been seeing fewer customers in her shop lately and, with more restrictions on the horizon, may see even less.

“I’m assuming I won’t have much business all week because people are going to assume that they should stay home … which they should,” Stephenson said. “But also, where does that leave me? I have to figure out a new way to pivot.”

Stephenson’s store is considered retail and starting Friday, she’ll only be able to operate and 25% capacity again with an emphasis on curbside pickup. She said she’s leaning towards the latter to help keep everyone safe.

“My best bet to be able to stay open and not break any capacity orders is to go to curbside order,” Stephenson said.

She said shifting gears will definitely hurt sales again especially since she’s been preparing for Small Business Saturday, one of her busiest days of the year.

Logan Milligan, who recently opened a vintage clothing store in Peoria called Hindsight, said the precautions, though tough, are necessary.

“I understand that we’re all in this together and, you know, it means more to me that there are people that are safe and healthy than my business,” Milligan said.

However, there are those like Amanda Fell, general manager of Morton Cinema, who don’t have the curbside option and have no choice but to shut down.

“We’ve had a rough season this year and we’re just trying to hang in,” Fell said “It’s hard.”

Fell said they recently opened up again back on June 26 after closing the first time in March. She said it’s been difficult because local cinemas don’t qualify for most local business grants to help with relief during this time.

She also said it’s unfair that many cinemas that have followed the proper safety guidelines end up the most vulnerable.

“We’re hoping that it’s short this time,” Fell said. “We’re hoping that it’s not three months because that’s going to devastate our little small business. We are locally owned and we depend on our communities.”

Stephenson said she believes, throughout the mitigations, the community will always stand behind the businesses they love.

“The people who want to support you through that, they will,” Stephenson said. “And the people who appreciate that will clap loudly.”

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