Restaurants, patrons adjust to new mask rules

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By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Restaurant patrons and workers in Illinois are adjusting to new mask rules Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently announced.

A mask is now required anytime a person interacts with an employee in a bar or restaurant, even outdoors. In other words, when the server comes back to the table to take the order or deliver food, the customer is required to put their mask back on.

Pritzker said his administration worked with the Illinois Restaurant Association to develop the new rules.

“This new requirement asks a little bit more of our residents dining out in order to protect their health and safety and that of our front line hospitality workers,” said Pritzker during a press conference.

Already restaurants in the state require workers to wear a face covering while on the job, and had previously required patrons to wear masks while on the premises, unless they were eating and drinking at their table or bar. Health officials say the new guidelines “ensure that while seated, interactions between business staff and patrons can happen safely to prevent possible spread of the virus.”

A canvas of bars and restaurants in the Bloomington-Normal area revealed very few patrons putting their masks back on when a server returned to their table.

Bob Groetken, owner of Schooners in Bloomington, said once a customer sits down, the face covering usually comes off.

“I do notice a lot more people putting them on when they go to the restroom, but interaction with the employees, waitresses and bartenders, not so much quite honestly,” Groetken said.

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