College students have made their way back to Bloomington-Normal, and with that, have returned to bars and college life.
This year, bars are needing to take extra precautions to make sure guests and staff members stay safe.
Several bars, restaurants and businesses were able to serve students for the first time since March, when campus shut down. As several thousand students descend on the community, there is a noticeable bump in business.
Now that Illinois is in Phase 4 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s "Restore Illinois" plan, bars are able to offer indoor dining, as well as outside seating, takeout and delivery options.
Many establishments require masks be worn to enter and are limiting the amount of customers allowed in by not allowing standing customers or overcrowding.
Despite safety precautions, several bars have closed their doors temporarily as a member of their staff has tested positive.
“Pub Wednesdays” are a common tradition for ISU students. As students were coming back into town, Pub II stated masks must be worn by all guests until they are seated, and the bar encouraged guests to stay seated as much as possible.
There is also no standing room and depending on how busy it is, the Beer Garden cannot be entered through the main restaurant.
However, Pub II is now closed until further notice as an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee last worked on Wednesday and is asymptomatic. All employees are being tested and will not return unless their test is negative. The restaurant is also using this time to deep clean the facility.
In a Facebook post Pub II stated, “We are taking all measures necessary to be as safe as possible before we reopen. Thank you so much for your understanding and continued support for our small business. We look forward to seeing you soon.”
Maggie Miley’s Irish Pub in Uptown Normal is also closed until further notice, due to an employee testing positive. The restaurant closed Sunday, and the employee last worked Saturday morning, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. During this time Maggie Miley’s will be deep cleaning and sanitizing, as well as making sure the entire staff gets tested. Staff will not be allowed to return unless their test result is negative.
In a Facebook post Maggie Miley’s stated, “We are deeply concerned for the health and safety of our guests and staff and want to ensure that all safety precautions are met before we reopen. Thank you for your support and understanding. We look forward to seeing you when we reopen.”
“We’re crossing our fingers right now,” Mugsy’s General Manager Brad Baker said.
Mugsy’s Pub in Bloomington is open with a beer garden and 50% capacity inside. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
Baker adds that the restaurant is deep cleaned every night, and everything is cleaned and sanitized after use. High-touch areas such as doorknobs are cleaned every 20 minutes. Masks are required unless guests are sitting and eating or drinking. Masks are also required at poker machines.
“We are looking forward to having everyone enjoying a little more of a regular experience out in the public,” Baker said.
Fat Jacks in downtown Bloomington temporarily closed from Aug. 9 - 13 after learning that an employee tested positive for COVID-19. During the time, all employees were being tested and the bar was being deep cleaned.
The bar is open for outdoor seating and limited indoor seating from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Masks are required to enter the building and must be worn if guests are walking around and mingling.
Brewe-Ha’s posted on Facebook Sunday that it will be closed for the day “due to positive testing too close to home.” The bar stated it will “ensure all employees can be safe and get another rapid COVID test. Be safe out there, and hopefully we will see you on the other side of the bar tomorrow.”
Masks must be worn unless guests are seated and eating or drinking. Brewe-Ha’s is open from 11-1 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays and from 11-2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
As of Aug. 17, Flingers is open for indoor and outdoor seating and is offering delivery and pickup options as well. Dining hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Pickup and delivery hours are from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.