After 18 months of uncertainty, Southern Illinois businesses ‘ready’ for a post-pandemic world | Local News

After 18 months of uncertainty, Southern Illinois businesses ‘ready’ for a post-pandemic world | Local News

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Despite Illinois entering Phase 5 of Gov. Pritzker’s reopening plan, Quatro’s in Carbondale is operating at 65 percent of capacity, due in part to staffing constraints.


Byron Hetzler



On Friday, the state of Illinois entered Phase 5 of its COVID-19 reopening plan, doing away with capacity limits for restaurants, gyms, retail, and entertainment venues for the first time in 18 months. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean your favorite shop, eatery or festival will be at full capacity immediately out of the gate.

Business owners across Southern Illinois and the rest of the state continue to  grapple with labor shortages and some event organizers are taking it slow over worries of another pandemic flare-up in spite of vaccination gains. 

Still, several local businesses welcomed the long-awaited news. 

Sally Carter, owner of Hangar 9 on the Carbondale strip, was a bit relieved.

“It’s good news because we’ve been operating under such a smaller occupancy level for months, years it feels like,” she said.

It was only last year that Carter was shut down completely. At the time, she told The Southern, “We’re closed and I have ongoing bills that have to be paid, yet no revenue coming in — I’m flat broke. I never imagined this, never in my wildest dreams imagined this.”

Now Carter said she’s not concerned with staffing levels as things open back up, something other businesses are struggling with. She said her staff have remained loyal. When asked how she’s managed to make it these many months, she said financial assistance, from both the state and federal governments, made it possible.

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