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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

COVID Fears Prompt Bloomington-Normal Restaurants To Temporarily Close For Cleaning

Closed sign in a store window
Ashley Binkowski
Several Bloomington-Normal restaurants have temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Several Bloomington-Normal restaurants are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Rod Burchett, owner of Baxter’s in Bloomington, said a cook on his staff also works at Destihl Restaurant in Normal, where an employee tested positive.

Rod Burchett portrait
Credit Facebook/Rod Burchett
Baxter's owner Rod Burchett said unless multiple COVID-19 tests come back positive, he plans to reopen Friday.

“It’s just through an abundance of caution, we can’t take a chance with people’s health,” Burchett said.

He said all staff has been tested and are awaiting results, while the restaurant gets a deep cleaning. He says Baxter's plans to reopen Friday unless there are several positive COVID-19 tests.

“If it comes back and we have multiple people that are positive, we’re going to pull back, even if I have enough staff to open,” Burchett said.

Destihl also closed its restaurant and beer hall until further notice. Several others have done the same.

Stave Wine Bar and Market posted a message on its Facebook page that it briefly closed after a potential COVID exposure involving an employee.

Stave announced Monday it planned to reopen after sanitizing the bar, but announced on Tuesday afternoon it still wasn't ready for customers.

Several establishments closed or limited access purely as a preventive measure.

Mystic Kitchen in Bloomington closed its dining room, but will keep its patio open. Owner Chelsea Heffernan said requiring masks indoors has proven to be more difficult than anticipated.

“Our team has been diligent in requiring guests to be in masks when not seated at tables indoors, but it has unfortunately been more of a battle than a new normal,” Heffernan said. “This is one of those decisions that we felt was necessary for the safety of our staff and guests alike. We will make a decision to reopen indoors when we feel it is safe for our community.”

Other restaurants that have temporarily closed include the Buffalo Wild Wings in Bloomington, Elroy’s, Flingers, Spotted Dog and the Popeye’s on East Empire Street in Bloomington.

McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said closing might not be necessary if a business takes the proper steps to isolate anyone who may have become infected. 

County and state health officials have attributed a rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks to bars and restaurants reopening.

We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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