Carbondale restaurants react to COVID-19 closures

By Alex Williams, Staff Reporter

Following Gov. J.B Pritzker’s order to close all restaurants and bars in Illinois to dine-in customers to combat the coronavirus, many businesses have been left with uneasy feelings about where they will find financial stability. 

“We won’t have any revenue coming in but we still do have bills going out,” Doug Robinson, chef and owner of Keeper’s Quarters, said.

Keeper’s Quarters employees will be affected heavily as they won’t have any money coming in yet they have rent and other bills to pay, according to Robinson.  

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In some of the downtime while there are no dine-in customers, Robinson is hoping to plan for when the outbreak is over so that he can make it the best year yet. 

“I think we’re all going to maybe be a little bit closer after this is over as a community,” Robinson said. 

Robinson said he hopes the community will realize how much Carbondale has to offer when the separation between restaurants and customers is over. 

Robinson plans to continue pick-up options until he runs out of stock as his restaurant runs on all fresh items and he doesn’t want those going to waste during the closures. 

“I’m just going to get creative with it,” Robinson said. 

The time difference between this week and next is a long time for Robinson to plan ahead during this coronavirus outbreak, so he plans to take it one step at a time. 

“I think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better, so I’m not making too many plans for the future,” Robinson said. 

For some, the news of SIU’s students being on an extended break was more worrisome. 

“I think it is going to affect everybody but you know we don’t have the students,” Salvador Lopez, manager of Chango’s Bar and Grill, said.  “If there’s not enough business, then not everybody is going to work.”

Lopez said if there is no business, there is nothing to do. 

Chango’s Bar and Grill will continue offering curbside and delivery options unless they are notified that they can no longer do this. 

(See more: Local restaurants open for curbside, carryout, delivery and drive thru)

Some businesses such as Hangar 9 plan to help their employees find government aid and make ends meet, but not all businesses are able to do this.

The CDC is recommending no gatherings of over 50 people for the next two months, which will heavily affect small businesses and their employees in both Carbondale and other places as well.

Staff reporter Alex Williams can be reached at [email protected] 

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