Local restaurants confused by changing CDC mask guidance



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PEORIA (WEEK) — Local businesses say they’re confused after the Centers for Disease Control changed its guidance on mask wearing.

Pat Sullivan is the owner of Kelleher’s, one of downtown Peoria’s most popular bars. He says it seems like mask guidelines seem like they are changing every day.

“I think we’ll get through it again, but this worries me because it sounds like the same train wreck we had at the beginning of the pandemic,” Sullivan said. “Confusion.”

When the CDC released new mask guidance Tuesday, encouraging universal indoor masking in areas with high and substantial community spread, Peoria County wasn’t on the list. But just a day later, it was added, moving to the substantial tier.

“We want to protect our customers,” Sullivan said. “But in the same sense, we don’t want to be overdoing things.”

That confusion is spreading across the River City. Chef Dustin Allen at Edge in Peoria Heights says business is booming, but they are still extra aware of the CDC’s changing guidance.

“Right now it’s so hard to know exactly day-to day which parts… and how those guidelines are interpreted and how they work,” Allen said.

Neither restaurant has plans to change existing mask policies – which allow vaccinated patrons to go maskless. The current CDC guidance is just a recommendation, not a requirement. However, Allen says they have noticed more customers wearing masks in the last week.

The Peoria City/ County Health Department says the best ways to stay up to date is checking the tracker on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

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