Schools close, businesses restrict hours

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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

Last week,  Chelsea Armstrong confronted a challenge that few restaurateurs anticipated: She had to close her restaurant to dine-in customers.

“I saw it coming when the state Illinois closed its bars and restaurants,” she said. “We immediately started making plans for take-out and delivery. ”She wasn’t alone in her efforts. All of Elkader’s restaurants put strategies in place after Governor Kim    Reynolds banned gatherings of more than 10 people in one area. All are offering take-out; many have added curbside delivery and delivery with a limited radius. Treats on Bridge Street has even cordoned off a parking place for customers to use as they dash in for their orders.

“This level of support doesn’t surprise me,” Chelsea continued. “Elkader has always been a very supportive community.”

Tim Finely, owner of Fennelly’s Irish Pub,” also reported a strong uptick in take-out numbers. But that hasn’t made up for the money he makes on beverage sales. “I’m not sure people are aware but they can still purchase beverages from us,” Finely said. “No open containers, of course, but we can fill growlers and we have some bottled beet on hand that can be sold, as well.”

Schools, churches and banks last week were added to the growing list of places that are temporarily closed. Central allowed students and staff into the building for a few hours March 16 to collect personal items. Governor Reynolds has not yet addressedwhether schools will remain closed after April 1. Area churches were also impacted by the governor’s decision to limit gatherings to less than 10 people. Religious services and activities have been cancelled. And both Central and FreedomBank haveclosed their lobbies to the public. Their drive-up windows are open, however.

Local government has also taken unprecedented steps to keep employees and the general public safe. At press time, many county offices were still open but appointments are necessary. Some services including passports, driver’s license, and conservation programs have been suspended. See the Register’s Facebook page for a complete list.

And finally, the need for social distancing is impacting the local retail scene. For example, Bridge Street Boutique and Gift has closed its doors to walk-in traffic. Owner Kathy Josten is using social media to promote her products and has joined other business owners in offering curbside delivery as well as limited “low contact” delivery in town. Curbside pick-up, and delivery of both prescription medications and other healthcare items are also offered by Clayton Drug.

Editor’s note: We are living in a time when things are changing rapidly. We have made every attempt to provide timely and accurate information. This article represents the situation in Elkader as we approached press time. Like others, we will use our Facebook page to keep you updated. Be well.

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