ROCKFORD—Multiple restaurants in the Stateline Area have had food permits suspended due to noncompliance with COVID-19 restrictions regarding indoor dining.
According to the Winnebago County Health department, Firehouse Pub, Jessica’s Restaurant and Sophia’s in Roscoe have had food permits suspended, along with Nelli’s Family Restaurant and The Post bar in South Beloit.
Fati Mixha, a representative for Jessica’s Restaurant, said the restaurant will continue to offer indoor dining. Mixha said Jessica’s staff have requested a hearing directly with the health department.
In Rockford, the Filling Station, Hoffman House and RBI’s have also had food permits suspended.
Loves Park establishments on the suspension list include Jax Pub, Waffle Shop, Fozzy’s Bar and Grill, Neighbor’s Bar and Grill, Spring Garden Restaurant and Doc’s Diner. In Durand, suspensions have been issued to the Best Dam Bar and Hogs and Hydrants. The Baseball Tap in Cherry Valley also had its food permit suspended.
Enforcement action against businesses has remained muted since the stricter measures took effect on Nov. 20, with the health department issuing closure orders to various businesses in the county for noncompliance with COVID-19 restrictions.
When asked about the next steps after the suspension of food permits, a health department spokesperson referred the Beloit Daily News to enforcement guidance posted online and provided no further details
The health department conducts inspections and provides education. After one violation, a notice of non-compliance is issued. The timeline for compliance depends on the nature of each violation, followed by an additional inspection. A notice to disperse is issued when no corrective actions have been taken followed by a Public Health Pandemic Emergency Rule Enforcement hearing. If a business does not attend, a closure order will be issued under the Illinois Department of Public Health Act. Failure to comply with the notices are then referred to the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.
A spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday.
But Region One, which includes Winnebago County, could see COVID-19 mitigations relaxed soon after Gov. JB Pritzker announced last week that regions could have rollbacks starting as soon as Friday.
Region One is currently in Tier 3 mitigation and to move into Tier 2, the region must have less than 12% test positivity for three consecutive days; have greater than 20% of available intensive care unit (ICU) beds and hospital beds; and see declining COVID-19 hospitalizations in seven of the previous 10 days.
As of Tuesday, the region does not meet state requirements, but the region is trending positively.
The seven-day test positivity rate for Region 1 is 9.1%. In terms of hospital bed availability, the region continues to meet the state requirement. As of Monday, 28% of medical-surgery beds and 25% of ICU beds were available in Region One, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Hospitalizations have decreased six of the last 10 days in Region One, IDPH data shows.