Rock County's Safer-at-Home order ends, nonessential businesses reopen

BELOIT, WIS. (WIFR) - It was a big day for small businesses in Rock County, nonessential stores were finally able to open their doors and welcome in customers Thursday.

"We are so used to people coming in, sitting down, talking, having a good time and then everything went black," said Rob Hartl, Jersey’s Bar and Grill owner.

Jersey's Bar and Grill along with all restaurants in Rock County could only offer carry out and delivery options for the past two months. but Thursday the county's Safer-at-hHome order came to an end.

"We had people at the door at 10:30 a.m. waiting to get in for an 11 a.m. opening," Hartl said.

Hartl says his staff took a lot of time to come up with a plan before reopening.

"We talked a lot about sanitation, we talked a lot about masks, we talked a lot about gloves. We are going to make sure that there is no contact as far as plates, food and we will make sure everything is safe and nothing is touched with our hands," Hartl said.

At Jersey's they've created what they call ‘sneeze guards’. But they are really just dividers that you can put between different parties sitting at the bar to provide a safer environment for its guests.

"I know a lot of them want to make sure that they are protecting their employees, protecting their customers while still reopening business," said Beloit’s Strategic Communications Director, Sarah Millard.

Millard says while reopening is good for the economy the pandemic isn't over yet.

"We are still seeing cases increase not only in Beloit but in the hospital. We still have testing going on with the Wisconsin National Guard to identify individuals that might need to isolate their whole family," Millard said.

"We want to make it so that everyone can have a dining experience," Hartl said.

All Beloit businesses are expected to follow social distancing guidelines only allow 25% capacity and wear masks and gloves when serving guests.