By CHRISTY JANKOWSKI
The American Legion Auxillary Post #117 is making adjustments to the closures. I spoke with Gary Zackery, Post Commander, and here is what he had to say.
Many activities were cancelled for March and the beginning of April. There will be no fish fry, no egg hunt held annually with a breakfast and Easter Bunny appearance on April April 5th. Zackery stated, “We have closed the Legion down and cancelled all activities at least until the end of March and will reassess given the government’s recommendation from that point on.”
He added that it has taken a hit for many in the community, not just the young. “Yeah a lot of our members are older and have to take that into consideration. It’s a little blow to the community because this is a social center during the day a lot of folks come up to play cards.” Adding that, “They understand and are making other arrangements.”
One of the big events that had to be postponed was the Past Commander dinner scheduled for the 28th of March. “Will be postponed and will happen in due time.” He stated two members during the dinner will be receiving plaques for 50 years of service, and will let the public know when the event will occur.
The Legion also has a bar that is closed for the time being, but Zackery stated the employees should all be available for unemployment during this time. On March 15th Governor Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants closed until the end of March. Zackery stated, “We are trying to take care of our workers, members or staff.” As for reopening, he states, “It’s going to depend on the regulation. Since we do have a liquor license we are governed by the state liquor commission.”
I asked if the closure came to a surprise, and he stated it did not. “We saw this coming when they started talking about all this stuff. It’s just part of the reality of life right now.”
Zackery is self quarantining for the time being with his wife and said this for the public, “We all need to be understanding of each other and it’s the public good at this point. It’s an inconvenience for all of us, but we really don’t have a choice in that.”
Judy’s Kitchen recently reopened after a fire destroyed their roof and caused smoke damage to the restaurant last June. They are currently offering curbside service at this time.
Judy stated about the curbside service, “When they call in of course we get their phone number, name, and then we ask what kind of car they are driving. When they get here, they call.” Judy’s Kitchen’s phone number is 217-763-3131. If someone wants a gift card, same procedure as curbside service.
I asked how business was going and she replied, “February the 2nd is when we opened and were super super busy until this time. It is a little bit better than what we thought it was going to be.” Adding, “It’s a hit and miss.”
As of this time she has not had to lay anyone off, “As of this time I have not laid anybody off, their hours have been shortened somewhat, but unfortunately I have had one off sick with the flu, and then another one called in the last couple days with stomach problems. I haven’t laid anybody off at this point.”
I asked her how she was handling the closure, as she is not really going much of anywhere, “I am doing okay physically, mentally I’m a little frustrated. Especially after going through the 8 months of shutdown with the fire. Business was just booming in February and the first part of March. And now it is down. It is what it is, nothing I can do about it, just put my trust in the Lord.”
As for her fellow patrons, “First of all I want to thank them for their loyalty and coming to our curbside service and hope they continue to do so and if there is any way to improve us let us know.”
When asked if she thinks the restaurant will be able to reopen in April, “I don’t think so, I think this is going to go longer, but can’t say that as a fact.” Adding, “There are still new cases coming out there and a few deaths in Illinois and at least one in Springfield. I don’t see it happening in the two weeks that they said, I think it will go longer.”
“Hopefully they won’t shut us down and quarantine everyone in their homes.”