The State of Illinois has now entered Phase 3 of of Gov. JB Pritzker’s five phase reopening plan after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor service and non-essential retailers opened to shoppers, both under special guidelines.

Restaurants are allowed to seat tables of six people or fewer for outside food and beverage service, and the tables must be placed six feet apart. After the City of Metropolis passed a resolution at its May 26 meeting to assist restaurants with outdoor seating arrangements, several restaurants have taken advantage of it.

West Fourth Street between Ferry and Market streets has been shut down to allow Fat Edd’s Roadhouse to use the space for outdoor seating. And, on Market Street a portion of the parking spots in front of Sissy’s — A Sweet Shoppe and El Toro Loco have been blocked to utilize for tables.

According to Darren Tockstein, co-owner of Fat Edd’s Roadhouse, said curbside pick up and carryout is still stronger than normal, but has slowed down the past week with a shift in customers dining outside. However, bar sales have increased because of the outdoor dining.

Tockstein is appreciative of the city for its help with making outside dining possible. “The mayor and city officials have been very helpful in allowing us to block part of Fourth Street to use for outdoor dining,” he said.

In retail establishments, the number of customers in the store at one time is limited to half capacity and fitting rooms must be disinfected after each use. Customers are encouraged to wear face masks in the stores.

On Market Street, Sixth & Vintage, The 606 Market, Honeysuckle Row, Super City Antiques, Ribbons and Beaus Children’s Boutique, Refind — A Junktique Market, Super Museum and Back of the Closet are all open to in store customers with restrictions.

Silver Collections, located at 215 E. Fifth St., Metropolis, has not opened to in store customers, but is still offering free curbside pick-up for orders on the store’s website. Information for these non-essential retail stores can be found on their Facebook pages.

Personal care services such as hair salons, barber shops, spas and cosmetology schools were also given the green light to open last week with reservations only, no walk-in traffic is allowed.

The remaining state parks also opened on Friday including Mermet Lake, the campground at Fort Massac State Park, Dixon Springs State Park and the boat ramp at the Golconda Marina. Camping and boating will be allowed in groups of 10 or fewer.

Outdoor activities are also permitted in groups of 10 or less with social distancing. Southern Seven Health Department offers these tips to getting all the physical and mental health benefits of warmer weather, while using precautions to reduce your chance of contracting and spreading the disease to others.

• Know and follow the safety rules for attendance at each location.

• Before going to any outdoor location, make sure it is open and there is plenty of space for your family to visit safely by following social distancing guidelines.

• Try to visit parks during off-peak hours so you’ll encounter fewer people.

• Keep an extra face mask and hand sanitizer in your vehicle. You may be used to carrying these items with you, but it’s easy to forget them when your summer routine kicks in.

• Because a face mask may shift during wear, when applying sunscreen make sure to put it under your mask too.

• If you aren’t from the same household, when attending a gathering bring your own food, drink, supplies, and utensils to avoid transmitting the virus through surfaces.

• Because doctors are still learning about COVID-19 transmission between animals and humans, when taking your dog outdoors, where others will be, keep your dog on a leash and maintain social distancing of 6 feet away from other people and dogs.

The Secretary of State’s Driver Services Facility opened on Tuesday to a waiting crowd. The first two months the office will be focus on serving only new drivers, customer with expired driver’s licenses/ID cards and vehicle transactions. For all other services visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Pritzker expects some regions of the state to move into Phase 4 on June 26 which would open restaurants’ indoor seating with limited capacity, K-12 schools with social distancing and gatherings of 50 or more people.

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