Restaurant owners react to Elkhart Co. delaying reopening plans
ELKHART, Ind. – Elected officials from both political parties were already uneasy about the state letting businesses and parks go up to Stage 4 a few weeks ago, but with cases spiking more than anywhere else in Indiana, even restaurants and bars say putting a halt in place is fair.
While the state gave a cautious go-ahead for a “Phase 4.5”, it will not include Elkhart County, which stays at Phase 4’s capacity limits put in place last month.
At the top of local command is the county’s Health Officer Dr. Lydia Mertz.
“Unfortunately everybody thinks they’ll just go back to normal,” Mertz said. “That was never the intention. I’m sure they’re disappointed they’re still going to have restrictions in numbers and that sort of thing, and restrictions in large gatherings, but we have to protect the health of the people in Elkhart County. They realize that.”
One bar & grill manager feeling the summer heat of the virus is Merle Anderson of Cappy’s Northside in Elkhart.
“I was definitely looking forward to opening back up…Of course it worries me, I’m in that age group where I have to worry a little more than the young people,” Anderson said. “Most people are pretty respectful and they walk in here and come in with their masks on. And I understand that when the hospitals are full, we’ve got to do something.”
Another Elkhart restaurant still takes not taking any chances is Elks House, a family business that has rolled out its carryout items without any dining in since reopening.
“We are doing our best,” Co-owner Mari Gutierrez said. “If we have to do it for a long time like this, we don’t have a problem, because we are from a different country and we don’t have family here. We have to care about our family. We are a family restaurant.”