‘It’s very hard to tell a paying customer you have to do this’ New Illinois mask mandate for restaurant patrons takes effect today

Local News

A new rule for masks takes effect in Illinois Wednesday.

It comes as daily cases of the coronavirus, and deaths show no signs of getting better.

You must wear a mask when any employee comes to your table when you’re out for for dinner or drinks inside or outside the restaurant.

It’s a change people are adjusting to.

Governor JB Pritzker says there are reasons for making the change. He says it’s supposed to help employees on the front lines of the pandemic who interact with the general public.

Local restaurant owners worry how it will hit their bottom line.

The breakfast crowd, and owner, Arlind Celiku at the Two Sisters Restaurant in Milan has been following that rule.

“Some of them see it as no big deal. Some of them are not going to like them and I think it’s going to hurt a little bit more of the business,” says Celiku.

“I am no fan of any laws, but nonetheless I have to obey them,” says owner, Al Limani of Lulis Restaurant and Bar.

He says the new rule may be hard to enforce.

“We as a staff we will comply 100 percent. For the customers we can direct them to comply, but I can’t control people, and neither can anyone else,” says Limani. “It’s tough to go to each table and say hey you got to put the mask on. So I’m planning to print something today and just put it in the door where people can see it. It’s very hard to tell a paying customer you got to do this one. I mean I’m going to try, but it’s very hard.”

While some customers may agree with the mandate others like Karen Dixon say the rule isn’t very practical.

“It’s another reason people won’t come to restaurants on the Illinois side. We’ll drive to Iowa if we have too,’ says Dixon.” If you’re that worried about it fix your meals at home, because some of us want to go out to eat, and this is just another barrier. I’m afraid we’re going to see more and more restaurants going out of business and we don’t want that.”

It doesn’t matter where you sit. You will need to mask up inside or outside the business. The new mask rule also applies to customers who order take-out.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.