CHICAGO - It’s the first day of business for Lock and Mule, a new brewery and restaurant in southwest suburban Lockport.
But if they had opened just a day earlier, owner Scott Struchen says they would’ve been limited to a small back porch.
"This would have been what we were restricted to if they didn’t lift the tier," said Struchen.
On Thursday, both Will and Kankakee Counties moved from tier two to tier one, permitting indoor dining at 25 percent capacity or 25 people, whichever is fewer.
State health officials loosened the COVID-19 restrictions because the positivity rate fell below 8 percent for three consecutive days.
"We’ve been working very hard on this project for two years now to get this building open as a brewery, and of course the pandemic happened. And we’re just blessed the tier one in this area has happened," said Struchen.
"That’s great news. It’s good because these local neighborhood restaurants, they need revenue," said customer Tony Hernandez.
At Thayer Brothers Deli in nearby Joliet, they’ve been making ends meet with three months of carry out service.
"It’s been difficult. Thank God today finally rolls around and hopefully we can get things kind of back to normal," said Rick Thayer.
Locals tell us, however, that many of the bars and restaurants here in Will County have been defying the governor’s order and staying open just to stay alive.
"Truthfully in this area, places were mainly open," said Don Pesavento, a Lockport resident.
If COVID-19 numbers continue to head in the right direction, there’s a chance bars and restaurants in Cook County may be allowed to open as early as this weekend.