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Bloomington-Normal eateries praised for putting COVID safety ahead of profits

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BLOOMINGTON (HOI) - A Bloomington City Council member is praising several restaurants in the Twin-Cities which temporarily closed their doors this weekend because of COVID-19 concerns.

At Monday night's city council meeting, Jamie Mathy commended businesses for making a courageous move to keep their employees and customers safe as the area experiences a surge in coronavirus cases.

City leaders did not specify how many restaurants closed, but Destihl Brewery and Restaurant on Greenbriar Drive and Towanda Drive, both in Normal, shut down after a restaurant worker tested positive for the COVID-19 infection, according to the company's Facebook page.

Two Bloomington restaurants, Baxter's American Grille on East Empire Street and Flingers Pizza on Vernon Avenue, announced on social media that they too were closing down to test all workers and to deep clean and sanitize the businesses even though they apparently did not have positive cases.

"I think we're going to see more of this happening going forward," said Mathy.

"I know most of them decided they wanted to close down and send all of heir employees to get tested out of a preponderance of safety, and I think that was exactly the right move. It takes a lot of courage as a business owner to make that step, so I think we should be applauding them," Mathy said.

Mathy made his comments after city staff provided a report on COVID's financial impact on the city's budget.

It's now projected the city's general fund will take an $8.5 million hit this fiscal year, about $1 million less than staffers predicted in April.

The city will make up those losses by delaying some projects and equipment purchases, and by managing expenses, said City Finance Director Scott Rathbun.

Several city council members urged residents to stay vigilant against COVID's spread by wearing masks and washing hands.

Mathy pleaded with the public to also patronize local businesses.

'It does make a difference not only to our budget right here that we're concerned about, but it also makes a difference when we have still a much higher than average unemployment rate. We have people who are out there gong to be looking for work," said Mathy.

"We have businesses in some cases where they're literally hanging by their fingertips right now trying to make it through all this nonsense," the council member also said.

Howard Packowitz

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