Illinois restaurant visited by police for defying state’s order against indoor dining


NEW ATHENS, Ill. (NewsNation Now) — Some Illinois bars and restaurants in regions affected by COVID-19 resurgence mitigations including the order of no indoor dining are getting visits from police.

A bar owner in New Athens, Illinois said she’s had enough and is rebelling against the coronavirus restrictions.

Positive test rates of 8% or more for three days trigger limitations and restrictions on social interaction in hopes of slowing rising COVID-19 cases. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s declarations have placed nine of 11 COVID-19 monitoring regions to be categorized under “resurgence mitigations” to slow the spread of the virus.

The restrictions halt indoor bar and restaurant service, closes those establishments at 11 p.m. and limits the size of gatherings to 25 people or 25% of a room’s capacity. Various mitigation options from a tiered menu are considered as it relates to each region’s statistics.

New Athens in southern St. Clair County is a town of about 2,000 people, located in Region 4, and some business owners aren’t happy with tighter restrictions reported NewsNation affiliate KPLR.

“You couldn’t go to bars, you can’t dance, you can’t congregate. First, it was 10 people, then it was 50, then it was back to 10. Nobody really knows what to do,” said Karla Blades, owner of the Nail Bar.

When Pritzker brought back restrictions against indoor dining on Wednesday, Blades rebelled and stayed open. Within hours, she was visited by New Athens police.

“The police have been here two times so far. (Wednesday) they came twice,” said Blades. “I mean, I’m only operating at about 20 to 25 percent of what I did last year. I’m a single parent. This is my only income. Pritzker changes everything from one day to the next and I think it’s ridiculous. I think he’s overstepping his power.”

Police told her to disperse the crowd. Blades didn’t and she now expects a visit from Illinois State Police. She calls the state’s action confusing by allowing customers to play slot machines in her bar but not have food or drink while gambling.

“That makes no sense! If a box store is open, if a Walmart is open, and a gas station is open, why are we not open?” she said.

Consequences may be coming but Blades is planning future events.

“We have a Halloween party Friday and I welcome everybody and I hope everybody comes,” she said.

NewsNation affiliate KPLR and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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