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Rockford restaurant owners share their excitement about reopening indoors

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 10:16 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Restaurants and bars starving for business can now reopen.. as region one which consists of Winnebago, Boone, Stephenson, Ogle and Lee Counties moves into tier 1.

Tier 1 allows for restaurants to reopen inside but they must follow strict guidelines including 25% capacity, tables holding no more than 4 people and only allowing customers 2hours to dine with them.

“It’s nice to actually see people here and get back to what we’ve been doing for almost 50 years,” said Lino’s Owner Charlie Schweinler.

Lino’s customers did not disappoint, hitting 25% capacity within hours of the IDPH announcement that indoor dining could resume.

“We are a little bit hectic right now which is great! people are ready to get back to the swing of things,” Schweinler said.

Schweinler says the employees at Lino’s are like family and when the pandemic shut-down business they got creative and came up with a curbside option.

“People who came and supported our curbside system which really means a lot to us and especially our employees who got the ability to put them somewhere until we got back to this moment,” Schweinler said.

“Walking out here tonight and seeing people sit at the bar having a drink and seeing bartenders interact with people that’s exciting, that’s what we do,” Abreo Owner Paul Sletten said.

Abreo welcomed its customers to dine-in but Sletten says the limitations are a bit discouraging.

“Having 25% capacity isn’t exactly exciting news. But going from 0 it is,” Sletten said.

But no matter the restrictions sletten believes restaurants reopening can only help people through this hard time.

“This is a place where people come to relax, getaway, cut loose and I think, I honestly think the lack of restaurants and bars made it harder to get through this because that was your spot,” Sletten said.

Both Abreo and Lino’s are only allowing indoor dining to those who make reservations before their visit to help staff keep track of the number of people.

Over the past 3 days within region one the positive rate stayed under 8%, 20% of ICU beds were not used and there was no increase in COVID patients at the hospitals which allowed the region to move to tier 1.

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