ALTON, Ill. — Sunday afternoon, it was a hot conversation on everybody's tongue at Mac's Restaurant and Bar in downtown Alton, Illinois. Customers of all ages were talking about the coronavirus and a temporary closure that will now require all dine-restaurants and bars in Illinois to shut their doors due to COVID-19.
"We're open 365 days a year," said Rob Lenhardt, the Manager at Mac's.
However, Monday night after they serve their last steaks, beers and more, Mac's must close to the public until March 30 because of growing concerns of the coronavirus in Illinois. Restaurants will still be able to remain open, but only for curb-side pickup or delivery.
During a news conference on Sunday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced all dine-in restaurants and bars will be closed for the two week period.
"You got to do what you got to do, but it will hurt," said Rob Lenhardt.
Lenhardt said Governor Pritzker's order will hurt his family-owned business. Mac's has been a popular place for 37 years.
The business has never closed its doors.
"We got about 40 to 50 employees throughout the year that really rely on the money here," added Lenhardt.
Mac's Manager also said the temporary closure will have long-term, economic effects on his waitresses, cooks and entire staff.
"I think it will take us 12 to 18 months to recover from missing two weeks of revenue," said Lenhardt.
Bars and restaurants must only close their dine-in options to the public. They will still do curbside and drive-thru options and they'll also work with restaurants to see if they can safely offer delivery options.
"I don't believe it's that bad to shut off everything like schools, bars and restaurants," said Bev Berry, a long-time Mac's customer.
"I believe coronavirus is just a respiratory infection. I own a heating and cooling business and I think this closure is gonna hurt small businesses. I just don't think it's a big deal, " said Scott Fuller, another faithful customer.
Meantime, it is a "big deal" to Rob Lenhardt, who's hoping his business will soon be back to normal
"I just don't think you can prepare for this," said Lenhardt.