HERRIN, Ill. (KFVS) - A southern Illinois restaurant reopened despite Governor JB Pritzker telling non-essential businesses to stay closed.
Newman and Company in Herrin wanted to reopen so they could pay their bills.
“We started seating at 7 a.m. and at 7:01 a.m., the state called the health department and said that, ‘will you you voluntarily stop seating people?’ And I said, ‘no, I will not.’ And he said, ‘I will pull your state license if you don’t’ and I said, ‘how can you do that,'" owner Robert Newman explained.
When asked if he was going to continue to have customers sit in his restaurant, he responded: “to be continued.”
Newman said he wants things to reopen sooner down here. He said he understands southern Illinois is not Chicago.
“Nobody is paying my rent, nobody is paying my electric, my insurance all my bills that I have," he said.
Since reopening its doors on Friday, May 8, Newman and Company ran out of food by noon.
“We’ve been non-stop since we opened," Newman said.
Rene Ervin, a local customer, said she missed her coffee and brownies from Newman and Company.
“I would love to see everything open up," she said. "I realize everything can’t and I know, I believe, it’s bad but I’d love to see it started to get going again.”
“I believe you are safer at a small business like mine that can only seat 20 people than going to your grocery store, going to Walmart when it’s packed full," Newman said.
He hoped other small businesses in the region would follow his lead.
“if we can get all the businesses to step out in faith, you know, and open up, it’d be a lot easier. But it’s a lot easier for the state to close one place down, but if we did it all together it’d be a lot better.”