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Coronavirus

Business operators try to determine if they can stay open

State issues checklist of essential and nonessential business

An area golf course owner is asking if golfing still can be allowed under coronavirus-prevention orders and the governor's stay-at-home orders — if players practice social distancing, if the flagsticks are removed and cups are pulled up slightly out of the ground to create an above-ground cylindrical target rather than a hole that players would need to put their hands into.
An area golf course owner is asking if golfing still can be allowed under coronavirus-prevention orders and the governor's stay-at-home orders — if players practice social distancing, if the flagsticks are removed and cups are pulled up slightly out of the ground to create an above-ground cylindrical target rather than a hole that players would need to put their hands into.

As a public service, Morris Hospital & Shaw Media have partnered to provide open access to information related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Sign up for newsletter

After the governor’s announcement that only essential businesses can be open, Patti Hall wasn’t sure what this meant for her business, Rudy’s Liquor Store in La Salle.

The business belongs to the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, which keeps its all its members abreast of essential things their members need to know, Hall said.

Rudy’s Liquor was informed by the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association that the business is considered a convenience store and thus considered essential — and allowed to remain open at this phase in the state's efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Hall verified from several sources before feeling secure in knowing the business is allowed to stay open following the governor’s new order on Friday. Liquor stores in New York, which issued similar “stay at home” orders, also are considered essential businesses at this time.

Hall said customers have been very respectful of social parameters.

The business has been doing additional sanitizing, spraying down surfaces and counters; the business also has automatic doors.

When the business is closed, the staff members are doing everything they can to clean the store, she said.

Hall wasn’t the only one seeking guidance from the state and from associations.

Clarity sought by golf course operators

At Spring Creek Golf Course, co-owner Jack Potthoff put out calls for clarifications to the Bureau County Health Department and said he and other area course operators have been seeking guidance or assistance from the Chicago District Golf Association and Midwest Association of Golf Course Superintendents. The staff at the course closed the bar to patrons more than week ago, hasn’t allowed anyone to loiter inside the bar area for 10 days, ended food service and has been disinfecting carts after each use.

Potthoff said the staff is trying to see if the CDGA or MAGCS can get clarification if the course can stay open if safeguards are in place to keep people apart and to prevent people from touching the same surfaces. Potthoff said he was trying to see if people could still golf if the flagsticks are removed so no one touches those, and if the cups are pulled up slightly out of the ground so people won’t have to put a hand in the hole to retrieve a ball. He’s wondering if they can rent one cart per person, as well, and then the staff can disinfect the carts after each use, which they were doing last week.

Illinois DCEO put out a list

One letter received by a lawn care business indicated that golf courses are outdoor recreational businesses and are “not” considered essential.

That letter went to Spring Valley fire chief Todd Bogatitus, who owns TNT Landscaping. He said his business could be considered essential, as he has the contract to mow parks in Peru and Ladd “and the parks need to be maintained.” On Sunday, he said he wanted to let his employees know whether they could work.

“I told my guys this week we’re not going to work until we hear from the state of Illinois,” Bogatitus said.

He was directed to a letter from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity which indicated that lawn and municipal property maintenance is essential. He said businesses such as his could be “up and running as long as they follow the rules on distances and washing your hands. We’re really not going door to door and contacting people,” he said.

According to DCEO: “Many landscape projects will fit under an exemption such as construction, agriculture, or public works. Outdoor landscape projects generally will provide for good social distancing that poses little risk of transmission, but it still is important to ensure the ability to wash or sanitize hands and take other precautions.”

Even after receiving confirmation from the state, Bogatitus has decided to hold off on sending workers out to do spring cleanup work this week. He said he’s holding off because the state has been passing down different orders approximately every other day.

“We’re still doing a wait-and-see approach,” Bogatitus said.

Many manufacturers remained open and distribution centers handling everything from Amazon returns to food, disinfectants, cleaning supplies and toilet paper have been considered essential services. Businesses and government agencies related to agriculture have remained open and running, as have food-production businesses. A drive around town on Monday also showed a discount furniture store’s “open” sign on, too.

Car dealerships are open, partly. The DCEO’s guidelines stated: “Car dealerships can remain open for repair services. They can also remain open for car sales on an appointment-only basis. Showrooms must remain closed.”

For more information on how Illinois is combating the spread of coronavirus, visit www2.illinois.gov/sites/coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx.

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