(PEORIA) WEEK - The last few months have not been forgiving for Central Illinois businesses, many of which were forced to close because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The economic toll has burdened salons, restaurants, retail stores, even major chains and now 50's Diner says they could be next, if things don't turn around.
The Metro Centre business is operating at fifty percent capacity according to Manager & Owner Kelly Wilcox, who also pointed out how hard she and her staff are working to follow the rules and standards set forth by Governor JB Pritkzer and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Sanitizing is happening after every customer, for everything from menus and counter tops to salt and pepper shakers she listed. Employees working eight to nine hour shifts are required to wear masks, social distancing floor maps and signs are posted and outdoor seating is also offered.
Still, Wilcox said, things haven't been smooth sailing. "Other people were coming up and reading our sign that says 'masks are required until you're seated.' They'd walk up see the signs- then leave. We have other ones that come in, read the sign and don't wear a mask anyway. Other people would come in they wear their mask and they're upset because there's other people that aren't."
50's Diner has been around for three decades and in order to be around for thirty more, Wilcox said she'll need the community's help.
"The month of July we were down $67,000 from last year for that same month. And our rent doesn't change just because our numbers are down. I just want them to support us. Help us get through this time." Wilcox asked.
Around the restaurant you'll find more than just mask reminders though.
The restaurant staff is using some humor to push through this period of adjustment. One sign reads "Due to Coronavirus, we are practicing social distancing. Please understand that when we throw your food at you."
Another one says "Unattended children will be given an energy drink and taught to swear."
Wilcox hopes customers will appreciate the jokes, but does hope they'll also abide by their health and safety requests.
She said while she cannot force people to wear masks, she'd appreciate if patrons hung in there with the diner a little bit longer as this pandemic continues.