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One restaurant plans to stay open despite latest restrictions

By Cole Lauterbach | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – A Kankakee restaurant announced it will continue to offer indoor dining this week in defiance of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest COVID-19 restrictions for the region. 

Carlo’s Restaurant, a staple in Kankakee County since 1955, announced Tuesday it plans to keep its doors open for indoor dining. Pritzker ordered bars and restaurants in the county, along with neighboring Will County, would be restricted to outdoor dining, capacity limits of less than 25 percent or 25 people, and an 11 p.m. curfew beginning Wednesday.

“I know that COVID-19 is a real thing but I don’t know if the reaction and how it’s been handled is correct,” said Jerrimy Robinson, owner of Carlo’s Restaurant. “Shutting down all of your small businesses in this area is not the solution. It really isn’t.” 

Carlo’s announcement on Facebook was met with mostly positive reactions, thanking him for remaining open in defiance of the order. 

The restaurant, known locally for heaping plates of biscuits and gravy, announced Saturday it was hiring more cooks to its staff of 19 to handle the rush of customers.

Under Pritzker’s new regionalized plan, Kankakee and Will Counties triggered the restrictions by reporting three consecutive days of 8 percent COVID-19 positivity in testing over a rolling 7-day period. Public Health officials will review the region’s metrics after two weeks. Should the area’s percentage remain between 6.5 and 8 percent, the restrictions will remain in effect. Averages over 8 percent would trigger further shutdowns. As of Aug. 28, the region’s positivity rate had risen to 8.8 percent.

Carlo’s is not the first to defy the governor’s orders. A wedding reception organizer told the Illinois State Police, which is tasked with enforcing Pritzker’s edicts, to give them a ticket rather than shut down the event that defied earlier restrictions in southern Illinois. 

ISP confirmed the complaint from the Clinton County Health Department but did not issue a citation.

As of Monday morning, Carlo’s had not been visited by law enforcement.

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