ROCKFORD, Il. (WIFR) -- Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara announces the city will waive numerous fees for local small business owners heading to Phase 3 of reopening under Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara announces the city will waive numerous fees for local small business owners heading to Phase 3 of reopening under Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan.
"All our actions are about keeping the public safe while at the same time doing as much as we possibly can to reopen our economy,” said McNamara.
McNamara says the city will waive fees including seating permits and suspend the approving process for liquor licenses to help small businesses start back up.
"Outdoor dining does not help every bar and restaurant,” said McNamara. “I certainly realize that however it does give our local and state hospitality industry a much needed shot in the arm and it's a step in the right direction.”
The mayor also says temporary seating areas for restaurants and bars could be set up in private and public parking lots, sidewalks and alleys.
"We will continue to look to find additional creative ways to expand outdoor seating as much as we possibly can,” said McNamara.
Despite the relief for owners The Winnebago County Health Department confirms there are now 1,684 total confirmed COVID-19 cases and 52 total deaths.
"We're seeing residents who are still battling this disease in our hospitals and we're thinking about those who are still recovering from the disease in their homes,” said McNamara.
While many are anxious to reopen, county leaders urge residents to be adaptable and understanding during this time.
"Our business owners have been through a great struggle as well and they've had to make significant modifications in some cases just to be able to reopen partially next week so be patient and support local business,” said Winnebago County Chairperson Frank Haney.