Mandate for customers to wear masks when interacting with bar, restaurant staff takes effect

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — A new mask mandate at bars and restaurants takes effect statewide Wednesday in response to an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Customers are now required to put their face masks back on while they are ordering, receiving their food or any other time they are interacting with staff – who are required to wear masks themselves.

Felippa Janik, the owner of Janik’s Café at 2011 West Damen Avenue, said she’s no fan of 2020 but greatly supports the recent mandate.

“I really like that because I feel that my employees and myself will be protected,” Janik said.

As for customers at Janik’s, they see the restrictions as necessary to prevent new restrictions in Cook County.

“We are working in the operating room. We wear our masks eight hours straight, sometimes longer,” one customer said.

New COVID-19 restrictions are also taking effect in Will and Kankakee counties, as both counties surpassed the 8% positivity threshold for three consecutive days.

That means indoor dining will be closed in Will and Kankakee counties for at least two weeks, and gatherings will be limited to 25 people, or 25% capacity.

In wake of new restrictions, Felippa Janik encourages customers who do stop by to spare a thought of the restaurant industry and the effort it has taken to keep them open.

“Be patient with the restaurant industry,” Janik said. “If we are required to do something, it’s not because we want to do it. We just want to protect people from getting sick.”

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