Restaurants, stores and more get chance to reopen at limited capacity in Rock County

JANESVILLE, Wis. – Bars, restaurants, stores and more in Rock County got the chance to open at limited capacity beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The opening, part of the county’s “Rebound plan”, allows most businesses to open at a quarter of their total capacity.

“I feel like I can breathe again,” said Matt Kealy, who owns Drafthouse in Janesville. “It’s been a long and emotional journey. For our friends, our family, our customers, it’s been a rough seven weeks of just unknowns.”

Kealy says while 25% capacity is a step in the right direction, it still only allows him a few dozen customers. He says Drafthouse will still rely heavily on carryout orders.

“We understand that some customers are still safer at home,” he said. “We respect that.”

At Drafthouse, Kealy has removed bar stools entirely and is working to space out tables.

“We’re working out our kinks,” he said.

Other restaurants, like Anchor Bar and Grill near Edgerton, say they’ve been preparing for this opening for weeks.

“We are making sure everyone has their mask and their gloves at all times,” said Kasten Robinson, and Anchor employee. “We take the employees temperatures when they walk in.”

Kealy says while it would be easy for any restaurant to surpass 25% of their customers and violate the guidelines, the threat of a second wave stops them from doing so.

“We know that if we wanted to go crazy, we could go crazy,” he said. “But at the end of the day, if we have a large spike, it puts us right back to square one.”

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