Business

Businesses continue preparations to welcome back customers

Tiramisu's Ilija Cucuk shows off how tables have been distanced to allow for patrons to return while social distancing at Tiramisu on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Adams County Together gave an update as things start to reopen in the region. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 21, 2020 12:01 am Updated: May. 21, 2020 12:19 am

QUINCY -- Using every other table is one of the ways Tiramisu in downtown Quincy plans to welcome back customers when the Italian eatery is able to welcome dine-in customers.

Ilija Cucuk of Tiramisu and his staff are ready to welcome back customers.

"We have plenty of sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and we've got masks and gloves for all employees," Cucuk said. "I really don't think that we need to wait for Phase 4 (of the "Restore Illinois" plan) at least for Adams County to reopen."

Not being able to offer dine-in service for more than two months has come at a price to Tiramisu.

"We understand that we have to take precautions, and we have been for over two months — only carry out," Cucuk said. "It's a blessing to be open, but our sales have been 40 to 50%, which is a lot. We have lost three or four front staff people, and we lost two or three people in the kitchen. Hopefully, they will be back."

With Missouri restaurants open to dine-in customers, Cucuk said business has dipped more and he said it would be difficult to wait another month to offer dine-in service.

Later Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that outdoor dining with additional precautions would be allowed in Phase 3 of the "Restore Illinois" plan that is set to start May 29.

The Adams County Together task force highlighted the efforts of businesses reopening during the pandemic Wednesday at a press conference at the restaurant.

Starting last week, dental offices were allowed to start offering routine services, such as cleanings, after having to cut services for nearly two months.

Quincy dentist Dr. Maria Connoyer outlined many of the processes that her office and others in the community are taking.

This includes splitting her staff into two shifts in order to reduce the number of people in the building to allow for social distancing and to add appointments to catch up on canceled appointments.

"We are doing a screening provided by the American Dental Association a couple days prior to the appointment going over any signs or symptoms that anyone may have of the COVID-19 disease, and then they will be rescreened the day of the appointment," Connoyer said. "Everyone gets their temperature taken, and everyone has to wear a mask."

Patients also must wait in their vehicle until they are called in for their appointment.

Staff will be wearing face shields on top of masks.

On top of the dental industry standard for sterilizing instruments, Connoyer said the Illinois Department of Public Health recommended that dental offices consider an ultraviolet light purification system, which she is adding in her office.

"By no means is it a silver bullet that's, going to take all of this away, but it's one more layer of protection for myself, for my employees and for our patients," she said.

Carol Brockmiller, CEO of Quincy Medical Group, said once businesses reopen, the community needs to work to make sure they stay open as the region transitions to Phase 3 in the governor's plan.

"The Adams County task force has worked hard to make sure that the local plan and the timeline are in sync with the governor's orders while still sort of applying and using that in a way that makes the most sense in Adams County," Brockmiller said.

She encouraged businesses to look at the "Opening Up Together" toolkit on the Adams County Together website.

"Some of the steps that we all take will all be similar," Brockmiller said. "Some will be different based upon your business, your functionality, number of employees, your physical structure, and so there is not one size fits all."

Calls continue to allow for changes to the "Restore Illinois" plan.

The District Executive Director Bruce Guthrie encouraged business owners to access a template letter on the Adams County Together website, adamscountytogether.com, fill it out and send to the governor's office.

"We represent our community and our state well by being respectful and purpose driven," Guthrie said. "Now is the time to continue to advocate for change, prepare to reopen, work together and ensure together the health and the vitality of our community."

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