A perspective on outdoor dining opening

Holley Law, staff writer

Restaurants in Joliet with outdoor dining will soon be able to resume doing under a plan unveiled last Friday by Mayor Bob O’Dekirk. “The plan, which received approval as part of Phase 3 of Illinois’ reopening plan, will begin May 29th,” according to O’Dekirk. The plan allows restaurants to reopen as long as outdoor seating was available to the public.  The state opening up even slightly is a good idea, as long we are still aware of what is going on and that we are still being careful.

This plan applies to any restaurant with a full kitchen and a liquor license and would allow for outdoor dining with tables, which would have to be spread out 6 feet apart. Alcohol could be served only with a meal. The outdoor dining hours would be until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Live music and bar service would not be allowed, but restrooms and take-out would. The inside of the restaurants would need to remain closed.

There are other factors not yet released that would need to be followed. It will be interesting to see what these are. Rumor has it that reservations will be required. Plastic cutlery and paper napkins will only be provided, and a bathroom attendant must stand watch to not only disinfect the restrooms but to also ensure anyone entering the restaurant has a mask on when needing to use the restroom facilities.

This is a good idea, and we as human beings can start easing back into our usual schedules, even if it is a little bit. This is a good start to getting back to a sense of normalcy. A start to normalcy is how we as a society will start getting back to doing what we would do before lockdown.  

Some may say that we are not ready to open up the state yet. As long as numbers are limited and only healthy people go out who have not been exposed, there is less of a risk of getting sick. No matter what we do, we risk getting sick. Even if it is through a touchless delivery service, the virus can still stick to surfaces. As long as we sanitize and keep the number of people limited to a safe amount, the possibility of getting sick can be lessened. 

As our state reopens, we can slowly ease back into how we used to live. We could go back to seeing family and friends. Although yes, we will need to still take precautions. This can also improve our mental health from the effects of being stuck inside for almost 3 months.  If this was going to be the life we would live forever, what would happen to us?