BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s been over three months since eateries in Illinois have seen people sit down to eat in their restaurants, owners in Bloomington, already seeing plenty of people come in.
A big sigh of relief for restaurants now being able to welcome customers back inside to grab a bite to eat.
“We’re seeing people that we haven’t even seen since the shutdown, some of the elderly people and everything,” said Bandana’s Bar-B-Q owner Anthony Barnes. “It was definitely a change in the procedure and everything else, but the staff adapted very well and it’s just going phenomenally.”
It’s not fully back to normal for these businesses, being limited to how many people can come in at a time. They’re allowed 50 people or half their normal capacity.
Barnes says so far he couldn’t be happier with the amount of support they’ve gotten.
“Our customers, they are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, this community, if you take care of them they’ll take care of you,” said Barnes. “Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed and humbled at how well the community treats us.”
Restaurants are taking many safety precautions now that dining is allowed inside. Servers are wearing masks and cleaning tables after each use. They are also offering hand sanitizer to have as safe of an environment as possible.
The Garden of Paradise completely closed down in March and its ownership says its struggled finding employees willing to come back to work.
“They’re afraid that we’re gonna open and shutdown again and they’re gonna lose their unemployment,” said owner of Garden of Paradise Hani Alsaqri.
Alsaqri says it’s also difficult getting all the necessary products to run his business.
“All my freezers, coolers are empty, I don’t have any food whatsoever,” said Alsaqri. “It’s very difficult since everybody wants to be back open all at once so that’s why I’ve delayed it just to make sure I have everything that i need.”
Alsaqri says they plan to reopen on July 1.