Southern Ill. businesses react to statewide mask mandate that goes into effect Monday

Southern Ill. businesses react to statewide mask mandate that goes into effect Monday

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KFVS) – In Illinois, the mask mandate returns.

Governor JB Pritzker announced on Thursday he’ll require indoor masking starting Monday.

The statewide mandates come as the state is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 Delta variant.

“We will be requesting that our guests wear a mask. Our servers have already been masked up for quite some time,” said 17th Street Bar and Grill owner Amy Mills.

She said the mandate, effective on Monday, is a bit chaotic.

“I think every business owner is going through the same thing,” she said. “Most of our staff has remained masked just to protect themselves. So really won’t be too different for them. It will be more of just a pain for the customers to go back to the mask mandate.”

Owner of Martel’s Pizza, Dillon Rushing, said his crew has been following the mask mandate since the previous one.

“We’ve already been wearing mask amongst our crew, our staff. We haven’t stopped,” he said.

Rushing said he plans to put mask mandate signs back up in the pizzeria.

“Making sure that our customers know to wear their mask while they’re moving around from table to the bathroom or coming in the door or out,” he said.

Mills also said she hopes enforcing this mask mandate is easier than last time.

“We definitely encountered some resistance the first time around, and those people chose to dine elsewhere, and so that will just have to be the case If it happens again,” she said.

Mills also organized the Praise the Lard Bar-B-que Cook-off in Murphysboro.

“We’re getting lots of questions on what this means for the cookoff, which will be held September 23 through 25,” she said. “We are planning full steam ahead for that event if we have to wear masks there, we will.”

Governor Pritzker also said on Thursday morning that southern Illinois, Region 5, now has 3 percent availability in ICU beds.

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