A Bradley Bar has begun indoor dining a month before the option is even up for consideration under the ‘Restore Illinois’ plan.
“We feel small business shouldn’t be punished by the state,” said Hoppy Pig in a statement released on Facebook Friday. The bar added it has retained legal counsel in light of the announcement. The bar’s opinion has the backing of the Kankakee County Health Department, Hoppy Pig claims in the statement.
The decision to ban indoor dining is directly associated with aerosol spread of COVID-19. At last count, Kankakee County had 1,041 cases of COVID-19. As of Friday, just 48% of all County cases fell outside of long-term care facilities in Kankakee.
RNA droplets of COVID-19 have been found in enclosed settings, like toilets, waiting rooms, and operation rooms by researchers. Earlier this week, the Illinois Department of Public Health begged residents not to ignore the virus in the push to kick start summer.
Cases of COVID-19 in Kankakee County have tripled since April 23rd, when just 310 cases were confirmed. Since 731 new cases have been announced by the Kankakee County Health Department.
The Department has ceased reporting cases numbers on the weekend.
Many are concerned in Illinois an overwhelming sense of anxiety during the pandemic has to lead the State into a false net of security. The Hoppy Pig announcement comes days after a rally was held on the steps of the Courthouse to support small businesses. During the rally, no safety precautions, such as masks, were observed while hundreds were in attendance.
“I’m pretty disappointed in this decision,” Katie Bassette of Bourbonnais said in response on Facebook to the announcement Friday. “All of the science points to indoor areas with close contact (which bars will always be by their nature) being a place where this virus will spread quickly and easily. Nothing indicates Hoppy Pig is even screening their patrons for fevers. I love craft beer and local businesses, but this seems reckless and short-sighted.”
No business wants to be associated with an outbreak of a contagion. Further stressed by an announcement this morning that a hairstylist at Great Clips in Missouri exposed 91 customers and co-workers to COVID-19 while being symptomatic. One could only imagine how such a response would be greeted in Kankakee County if the exposure situation was from a Bradley bartender at a crowded bar and not a hairstylist.
While the bar wrote to ‘customers and friends’ in the letter, it did not address the community in general or relatives of bar-goers it may be putting a risk due to their opinion to allow indoor service.
“How did you receive legal clearance when the state cannot open OUTDOOR dining until May 29th?” asked McKenna Alexandra of Bourbonnais in response to the post.
Friday elected officials signed off on a strategy of their own, allowing any liquor license holders in good standing to reopen, immediately. The reopening was contingent so long as the business was in compliance with outdoor dining. The plan was signed off by Kankakee County Board Chairman Andrew Wheeler.
While the Illinois Department of Public Health acts in accordance with the overall protection of residents of the State, local health departments report to them. The Kankakee County Health Department receives oversight through the Kankakee County Board.
It’s important to note Hoppy Pig has adopted IDPH guidelines associated with outdoor dining coming into effect on May 29th, current guidelines are designed only for outdoor use. Under Phase 4 of ‘Restore Illinois’ bars and restaurants could reopen with revised health guidance through the State.
The Phase 4 isn’t up for consideration until the end of June.
As of Friday, nearly 700,000 tests have been run in the State of Illinois. A large amount of those tests have been done using Abbott ID devices, which according to a recent study, have produced false negatives in testing. The Abbott ID devices have been used to push mass testing in a fast way, with results in as little as five minutes.
This week, Associate of Public Health Laboratories and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Director Scott Becker said ‘serological tests alone should not be used to make decisions’ for employees to return to work. Becker says more data is needed on how humans gain protection offered by antibodies against COVID-19.