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Mayor Renner: It's Time To Allow Indoor Dining At 25% Capacity

Emily Bollinger
Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner, center, at a recent community event.

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said he thinks the governor should allow a limited amount of indoor dining starting now.

Region 2, which includes McLean County, could improve back to Tier 2 mitigations as soon as Friday. But that, on its own, would not allow indoor dining to resume. Under current rules, indoor dining could only resume in a region if its testing positivity rate dips below 6.5% and there's healthy hospital bed and ICU capacity, NPR Illinois reported.

Region 2's positivity rate was 8.8% as of Jan. 9.

Still, some restaurants are ready to go. Rob Dob's in Bloomington, for example, announced on Facebook it will be reopening dine-in service on Friday.

Some restaurants are "frustrated because they felt like they were playing by the rules, and mostly that's absolutely been the case," Renner said Tuesday.

"They're getting mixed signals. We're also, at the City (of Bloomington), getting mixed signals as to what might happen with the governor's office, or what the Illinois Department of Public Health is recommending," Renner said. "So if you think you might be able to open on Friday, even if it's at a very low capacity, you gotta begin to order the food, and hire the people to make sure they're there, to actually make the establishment run. You can obviously always cancel that.

"I don't know what people are thinking, but if they know what's going on, and they have a crystal ball, I'd sure like to know it, cause I'd like to be prepared as mayor," Renner said.

Renner said he would support indoor dining at 25% capacity in Bloomington. He said he thinks that's safe.

The City of Bloomington has collected nearly $5,000 in fines from at least nine businesses accused of violating COVID rules.

Four more violations are on the agenda for Tuesday afternoon's Bloomington Liquor Commission meeting. Renner said all four are related to COVID restrictions.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.