Relaxed mitigations allowing Illinois State University students to watch Redbird Basketball at local bars

Local News

NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — The return of indoor dining and drinking is a slam dunk for both bar owners and basketball fans.

COVID-19 is preventing Illinois State University students from attending home basketball games at Redbird Arena, but thanks to relaxed mitigation measures in Region 2, they can watch the rivalry game at local bars.

Lucus Rokos, general manager at Pub II in Normal, says being able to welcome students back in to watch the game feels right.

“This is what we’re built for, we’re a sports bar where people would come before, after, and during games. To go what we went through with no sports, and now to have some sort of local sports back on, it’s just awesome,” said Rokos.

And while Pub II is only allowing 4 people per table, and 25% capacity to follow Tier 1 mitigations, students who have been studying online this semester are still excited for the opportunity to watch the games in a different setting.

“As college students, us being online currently, and not really getting to be out of our house too much, I think it’s kind of nice to have a little feeling of normalcy, to be able to feel safe coming back to the bar, to watch sports, hang out with our buddies and et cetera,” said ISU student Peyton Kreke.

Rokos adding, he hopes patrons will be understanding of capacity limits, as they are having to turn people away in order to follow Tier 1 guidelines.

“We’re only able to fit in just a handful of people, we don’t like having to turn away people, we’re usually the type of place where whole baseball teams could come in and never have to wait for a table so just…if we have to turn you away we apologize, but it’s just the nature of the situation right now,” said Rokos.

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