PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Many restaurants in the area are complying with outdoor seating regulations, but others are telling customers to come on in.
On Monday, the Peoria Pizza Ranch announced they are opening their doors to the public despite Governor Pritzker’s phased reopening plan. Phase Three allows outdoor seating, but still prohibits guests to dine indoors. Pizza Ranch, operator, Selena Wheatley says she talked to a lawyer and was given the all clear to reopen.
“We need to open back up, we need to have people in our restaurant again. I think that’s what the community wants. We received our letter on Friday afternoon that we are good to reopen,” Wheatley said.
Wheatley says her attorney reached out to the health department and they failed to get in touch within the 48 hour limit to deem them a public health risk.
“We did not hear anything back from the health department until today, they did not contact us directly, they contacted our corporate office and we’ll refer them to our attorney,” Wheatley said.
Pizza Ranch is limiting their seating to 50% capacity and are encouraging guests to sanitize. Staff are also making sure to switch out serving utensils regularly.
“We want our guests to feel safe and our community to feel comfortable. So we’re taking extra precautions to keep people safe,” Wheatley said.
Another pizza restaurant in Peoria’s Junction City also announcing they will reopen. Owner of Cheese Nuts Brick Oven Pizza announced on Facebook they too will welcome indoor seating.
“I’m almost out of business so I have to open up. It shouldn’t be a last resort that I have to fight and open up my business,” owner, Kyle Gorman telling Facebook users in a video.
Mabel Blankenship a customer at the Peoria Pizza Ranch on Tuesday says she’s excited to eat meals in person again.
“It was worth it because we sat out and waited in the parking lot,” Blankenship said.
Blankenship ate lunch with her grand-kids and daughter for the first time in months, hoping more places open up.
“I hope it gets over pretty soon, I’m sure everybody is sick of that,” Blankenship said.
Wheatley is not making people come in and eat, but if they want to they can. And asks those who don’t feel well to stay home.
“We understand not everyone is there yet but as you can see, many of us are ready to get back to life and if you’re sick please stay home and take care of yourself,” Wheatley said.
She says the reopening has been well received by the public with very little negativity. Cheese Nuts’ owner chose not to talk about the decision to reopen, but is open for business.