Good news for bars, restaurants in Will, Kankakee

Will County moves to Tier 1 mitigations in Restore Illinois Plan

By Rex Robinson | 1/22/2021, 6 a.m.
Limited indoor service will now be allowed in restaurants and bars and meetings and social gatherings of up to 25 ...
Restaurants and bars in and around Joliet will now be allowed to re-open for some dine-in services.

Limited indoor service will now be allowed in restaurants and bars and meetings and social gatherings of up to 25 people will be permitted in Will and Kankakee counties. Earlier Thursday, Governor Pritzker announced that Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, will be moving into Tier 1 mitigations beginning Friday, Jan. 22.

“This is great news for the many businesses who have suffered greatly during the pandemic and it demonstrates our resident’s commitment to observing mitigation guidelines. While we welcome this news, we urge both our business owners and our residents to carefully observe the Tier 1 mitigation guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant. “We must still take actions to protect ourselves from the virus – wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.”

According to the Tier 1 Resurgence Mitigations of Restore Illinois, bars and restaurants may operate during the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. and indoor service must be limited to 25 people or 25 percent room capacity, whichever is less. All patrons must be seated and tables must be six feet apart. Indoor service is limited to two hours and parties must not be larger than four people.

Meetings and social events will be limited to 25 people or 25 percent of the room capacity. This does not apply to students’ in-person learning in classrooms. Party busses are not allowed. Organized sports must follow mitigation measures set forth by All Sport Guidelines for practices and competitions.

“As 2021 starts off, virus numbers are going down and as vaccine numbers are going up” said Alpesh Patel, Chief Epidemiologist with the Health Department. “However, this does not mean we can let our guard down. We have long way to go. We must continue to practice actions to protect ourselves from the virus – wear our masks, follow social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and get the vaccine when it is our turn.”

“This is a step in the right direction, especially with the arrival of vaccines in recent weeks,” said Speaker Mimi Cowan. “I encourage individuals and business owners to continue to abide by all safety guidelines so that we protect the collective health of residents while also helping our local businesses.”

“Many of our local businesses have suffered due to the COVID pandemic so this is very positive news,” said Board Minority Leader Mike Fricilone. “The County Board will continue to press forward on our efforts to assist local businesses and our residents.”

Also, on Thursday, Jan. 21, Bertino-Tarrant announced new protocols for public access to the County Office Building on 302 N. Chicago Street in Joliet. The protocols will be following strict CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of both the public and county employees. Bertino-Tarrant strongly encourages residents to call and schedule an appointment prior to traveling to the building.

“Our goal is to have safe, effective procedures to protect the public and our employees while maintaining high quality services for all who live, work, or do business in Will County,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience as we move through the necessary COVID-19 protocols to make our building accessible to the public.”

Upon entering the County Office Building, visitors will be asked to complete a touchless temperature screening. Hand sanitizing machines will be available and all visitors will be encouraged to wear a mask while in the building.

“With the advent of the COVID-19 vaccine process, we are hopeful we will continue towards pre-pandemic procedures sometime in the future,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “We are asking for cooperation from our residents, elected officials, and our employees.”