A move to Tier 1 in Illinois is giving businesses, especially restaurants, the opportunity to bring customers back inside.
For many of those business owners around the Quad-Cities, the lockdown has been crippling to their employees and livelihoods.
We spoke to restaurant and bar owners who hope that removing that burden can keep them afloat. One of those places is Brandon’s Pub and Grille in Rock Island, which opened over the weekend.
They were grateful to have customers sitting at tables just in time for the NFL Championship on Sunday.
Finally back open after they closed in the middle of November because of COVID-19 restrictions, they welcomed their customers. Owner Brandon Albertson says it’s great to be back open.
“It was busy. Obviously we are still trying to maintain our capacity level, but we were at capacity yesterday from the time that we opened until the time that we closed,” Albertson said. “So what it says to me is that the people within the area are very excited for us to be back open and they are excited to get out and about on the Illinois side.”
While dine-in is at a limited capacity, the move to Tier 1 came just in time for the championship.
“It’s an exciting time to own a bar, especially with the Super Bowl coming up,” Albertson said. “I know last year when we had our Super Bowl party here it was a great time and we had a great turnout. So obviously we will be limited with seating capacity, but we are willing to take reservations for those that want to give them to us or call in.”
Loyal customers of Brandon’s are also happy that they reopened their doors this weekend.
“I love it because I’ve gotten to know so many people here that I’ve become close friends with and even servers. They’re great. I love it. It’s just like family,” said customer Tim Ramirez.
He says Brandon’s is his favorite Quad-City restaurant, and being able to dine in again makes him feel that things are slowly getting back to normal.
Ramirez is delighted “to get back to normalcy and meet with the people that you’ve gotten to know here and talk to them and you know catch up with what’s been going on – what have they been doing, what have I been doing.”