FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- Indoor dining and bar service is back on the table for restaurants in the seven counties which make up Region 4 in Illinois, which includes Madison and St. Clair Counties.

For restaurant owners like Courtney Zapata, who owns Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant, it’s a big step in helping their businesses recover.

Zapata said business is down about 35% year-to-date, and the easing of restrictions is critical.

“It's still not fixing the world's problems,” she said. “It helps, [because] it's getting cold.”

Zapata’s did put up a tent, and patio dining is fine when the weather is beautiful, but Winter is coming.

“If we had to stay outside it would kill us. It would literally kill us,” she said.

Under the new rules, inside capacity will be limited to 25% with groups of no more than 10.

Social distancing will be required.

Some diners, like Glenn Schmidt, believe the restrictions placed on Metro East businesses have been government overreach.

“We want to have our own opinions and do our own distancing without the government stepping in on the toes of everyday Americans,” he said.

The restrictions on restaurants and bars have been tough for a lot of people. Zapata said for many, it's not so much eating out that's important, it's just getting out and socializing.

“It's about being with friends, getting together,” she said.

Some bars and restaurants will not be offering the indoor dining this weekend because schedules and staffing had already been put into place.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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