BELLEVILLE, Ill. ( -- Reinventing the wheel is what many mom and pop shops in Belleville, Illinois are having to do in order to survive as the coronavirus pandemic has changed what's normal.

“It’s definitely changed the way we do business," Bennie Parr said.

Parr, owner of Bennie’s Pizzeria, says hearing Governor JB Pritzker extend the stay-at-home order to May 30 was a blow.

“Definitely the extra 30 days put a little gut punch to us, but we’re just moving forward,” he said.

Parr says they’ve been relying on curbside pick-up to make profit, although he’s had to lay-off more than half his staff.

“It’s definitely impacted the way that we do things and the amount of staff, we had 12 to 15 on staff before, and we currently have four,” Parr said.

A few doors down, Rebecca Waterkotte with Sugar Fix Bakery, says she’s been using the internet to rely on sales.

“Not relying on the foot traffic, I was like I got to shift, reaching out to the people beyond Belleville, because they can’t come walk and see me,” she said.

With more than 50,000 cases reported in Illinois, a little more than 400 make up a fraction of that number in St. Clair County. That’s why some local businesses think Pritzker should reopen the Metro East region.

“Majority of the state is not in the same predicament that Chicago is,” Waterkotte said.

Wednesday Pritzker announced he’s considering reopening the state in phases.

“The first thing that I want to be able to do across the state is open up the smallest of business, those folks have risked their livelihood rather all of their savings to open their business,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said state officials will begin meeting on Friday to determine when and how phases of reopening will look like for the state of Illinois.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.