Given the brand new restrictions in Illinois, Metro East eating places are contemplating putting in accordion home windows

BELLEVILLE, IL – Restaurants in Illinois Metro East are taking dramatic steps to survive COVID-19 and restrictive health guidelines.

The change cost restaurant owners money at a time when sales were plummeting.

“Looking back at our numbers, we lost nearly a quarter of a million dollars in sales,” said Renae Echholz, who owns the Belleville Copper Fire Eatery and Bar.

Echholz can summarize in three points what the pandemic and the health restrictions have done for their business: “It is killing us.”

There are two words she believes can turn things around: “indoor-outdoor”.

Echholz plans to get rid of the large front windows and install garage doors with window panes or accordion windows.

“What kind of panes can you use to open one or three or four and open up the whole room,” she said.

Echholz said when her restaurant is indoors and outdoors, the only two COVID-19 restrictions she needs to worry about are social distancing and wearing masks.

“I would be able to stay inside completely openly,” she said.

Drake’s Restaurant in O’Fallon, Illinois has three walls with garage doors.

“You were definitely the game changer,” said Chuck Forsythe, Drake’s manager.

When the COVID restrictions closed many restaurants in Metro East, Drake’s was not threatened because of its large openings.

“We opened on September 21st and didn’t have to close,” said Forsythe.

A manager for the Overhead Door Company said they had installed garage doors in three restaurants in Metro East since the pandemic began.

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