CHICAGO - There was a flurry of activity in the suburbs Thursday as everything from restaurants to malls were getting ready to reopen, albeit a little differently than what you may remember.
Arrowhead Ales Brewing Company in New Lenox will open for business Friday. They have removed some of the tables on their outdoor patio for social distancing.
“We have many small stores that have been closed throughout this last 60 to 70 days. Majority of our businesses are comprised of small businesses,” said New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann.
Fifteen miles away in Orland Park at Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant, there are markings on the ground where cars would normally park. The spaces will be used for a new outdoor eating area.
It is unconventional, but Governor JB Pritzker’s Phase 3 reopening plan mandates that customers can only dine outdoors with parties of six people or less.
“We are putting a 30 by 60 tent up. We are following the guidelines of the health department and the state. We will have 18 tables out there. A lot of disposables and single serving stuff,” said Michael Lorenzo of Papa Joe’s.
Ten percent of stores at Orland Square Mall in Orland Park will reopen Friday, starting with Macy’s and Von Maur.
The state says stores can have a maximum of 50-percent store capacity or five customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space.
“I am anticipating the retail stores will be able to control their environments. They’ve been able to do it in other stores since the beginning, since March. To my knowledge there’s only one case tied back to them,” said Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau.
There have been six coronavirus cases or fewer per day in Orland Park in the past week. Mayor Pekau says he fears there could be a slight increase.
"We may see a bigger spike because we are going to see a lot more people going out. It's 80 degrees and 75 degrees outside,” he said.
In Naperville, restaurants are allowed to set up outdoor seating on sidewalks and in some public parking spaces.