Today was the start of the Region 2 mandates in Illinois to ban indoor dining and bar service. Two businesses in Rock Island County are pushing back against the mitigations and keeping their indoor food service open.
The Captain’s Table in Moline and Theo’s Java Club in the downtown Rock Island district are both saying they will carry on with ‘business as usual’, which goes against the Illinois Health Department and Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mandates.
Theo’s Java Club has called the district home for nearly 30 years. They shut down their shop for two months at the start of the pandemic in March. Theo Grevas, the owner, said they are just starting to make a financial comeback. He said complying with the mitigations could mean the end of his business.
“My great people here, they need a paycheck,” Grevas said. “It would probably just be the final blow.”
He’s concerned about keeping his employees employed.
“That income is important to all of us. We need to get that income for our employees and keep things going,” he said.
At the Captain’s Table, General Manager Robert Egger says he doesn’t want to leave his employees out in the cold.
“People need to work. The average server or bartender will get $130 to $150 dollars a week on unemployment. And we are 6-7 weeks outside of Christmas. I can’t stomach that either,” he said.
He isn’t sure the closure will be productive in stopping the spread in the Quad Cities.
“So is it logical to shut down all of these restaurants and bars over here just to have people drive across the bridge?” he said.
He is anticipating consequences for staying open.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll get shut down, but I feel like I’m going to do the most I can to keep people employed for as long as I can,” he said.
Both Grevas and Egger said their businesses will continue to social distance within their establishments, require masks and regular sanitizing.