Lake, McHenry County restaurants brace for indoor dining ban: 'We don't know if we will survive'

HIGHWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- Restaurants have already been so hard hit by COVID-19 safety guidelines, and many in Highwood are worried they won't be able to survive another round of restrictions.

At Lucky Fish Restaurant in Highwood, seafood is their specialty. But now they're feeling like a fish out of water, just trying to make it.

RELATED: New COVID-19 mitigations announced for Lake, McHenry counties as Illinois reports 6,110 new cases

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New COVID-19 restrictions will go into effect Saturday for Lake and McHenry counties as the state reports more than 6,000 new cases.

"The winter is almost here, so we don't know if we will survive," said Lucky Fish Manager Alicia Torres.

Torres said she is worried Lucky Fish might go out of business during the next round of COVID-19 mitigation restrictions set to take effect on Saturday. It will close all indoor dining in Lake and McHenry Counties.

"My job, my livelihood, my staff's livelihood. We don't know what's going to happen. I think that's what's bothering us the most," said owner of The Toadstool Pub. "I don't know if we'll all survive this second hit."

The governor and Lake County Health Department said the new COVID restrictions will begin on Halloween in Region 9 after a rolling average of at least 8 percent test positivity for three consecutive days.

"We need to change our behavior to bring those cases down because it's here with us and in fact it'll probably get worse as we head into the colder weather," said Lake County Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister.

Garrity just installed a huge new heater on his patio at The Toadstool. Darcy Mosconi, owner of Sandy's Diner a few doors down, said her place is too small for any outdoor dining, and she's fearful.

"I still can't believe they're doing this again. I can't, honey. I can't," Mosconi said. "I think we all kind of knew it was coming, but it stinks. I just don't think it's fair."

Again those new restrictions in Lake and McHenry counties go into effect on Saturday, including a limit on social gatherings to 25 people. These restaurants holding on to hope and imploring customers to eat local.
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