ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- As Illinois' seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate continues to rise, bar and restaurant owners in the Metro East are anxiously monitoring the latest numbers and hoping they start to move back downward to prevent a move back to tighter restrictions.
As of Friday, 51 of the state's 102 counties had reached warning levels, including nine in the St. Louis region.
However Madison and St. Clair Counties, the two biggest in the Metro East, are not among those.
Region 4 did cross the eight percent positivity rate threshold the state uses to determine whether more restrictions are necessary, and if it remains that high through the weekend, more shutdowns could be ordered.
Another round of tighter restrictions could be fatal to businesses in the area.
Zapata's restaurant was helped by the payroll protection program but that money ran out long ago. Owner Courtney Zapata has tried to bridge the gap with help from the state.
"I've applied for all their grants, never gotten one," she said. "Grant money stays up around Chicago. Which I get, it's bigger than southern cities."
With restrictions in place, every other table in the dining room is marked with tape to signify they can't be used.
Social distancing is the rule.
While there was outdoor dining, the cooling weather is taking that option away for many eateries.
At Joe's Pizza & Pasta nearby, they hung tarps and put tables and chairs on the sidewalk for outdoor dining, but winter is around the corner and they aren't sure what they'll do.
"We'll be up in the air about what we can do with outside dining. It's cold now. You can't find outside heaters anywhere," said Abigail Thompson with Joe's.
"It's a hard situation. Scary," added Zapata. "We've been here for 20 years. We can't survive on to-go orders."