ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - Tuesday night, Satchmo’s Bar and Grill was open for indoor dining. Customers who decided to support the business by eating inside said the new restrictions placed by St. Louis County are damaging to the eateries and they want their local restaurants to stay in business.
“I didn't think what Sam Page had instituted was fair for St. Louis County restaurants, especially since the restaurants in the city are open. So I knew that Satchmo's would be open today, and defying the order or not defying the order, I wanted to support them and have some lunch,” said diner Mike Lipel.
Satchmo's is just one of several restaurants who said they'll continue to offer indoor dining.
Bartolinos in South County, Joey B's on Manchester and Gianinos in south county say they will remain open.
Currently there is a lawsuit set to be filed on behalf of the Missouri Restaurant Association and a few of those aforementioned restaurants.
Tuesday News 4 did not see anyone from the county out checking on compliance issues.
The county counselor can file a restraining order against a business defying orders, which would force them to close until a judge rules.
Owners say they're doing what they need to do to stay in business.
“I fear what's going to happen if we don't stay open, not just for my restaurant,” said Benjamin Brown, the owner of Satchmo’s. “It's bigger than that for our industry. This is an industry that employs 10 percent of the entire state's workforce. The catastrophic effects of what this could have, even the people that make it, they're going to be hurt, because people aren't going to have the disposable income to go out and spend it at a restaurant.”
As of Wednesday, there were 19 complaints filed with St. Louis County alleging restaurants were in violations of the indoor dining ban. The county has yet to investigate the complaints.
"They should expect letters from us, alerting them that we’ve received a complaint since the new order took effect," said Chris Ave with the county health department. "It’s important to note, just because someone has complained doesn’t mean that the restaurant or business is in violation. But we start that dialogue with a letter, we will probably hand deliver those letters, we will literally have people going to these restaurants to see if they are offering indoor dining."