Rising cases shut down indoor dining for now

Indoor dining will be on hiatus in Hinsdale starting at 11 p.m. Friday.

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Tuesday that indoor service at restaurants and bars will be prohibited in DuPage County starting Friday. The restrictions also apply to Kane, Will and Kankakee counties.

Vistro owner Paul Virant, a Hinsdale resident, had just met with his staff Wednesday morning to begin planning for the change.

"We have that tent that has forced air heat. We'll at least be able to have dining on the patio for, I think, the next few weeks," he said. "It gets pretty toasty in the tent, so I think that's going to be helpful. I think beyond that, people are going to be shifting more back to eating at home and carry-out."

Virant said his staff will ramp up the carry-out meal kits he debuted at Vistro earlier this year.

"As much as I want people to come to the restaurant, I want people to be practicing social distancing and wearing masks and being as safe as they can so we can be responsible and get past this," he said.

His other two restaurants, Vie in Western Springs and Gaijin in Chicago, are allowed to remain open.

"I kind of thought this would happen, but I didn't think this would happen this week," he said. "By the end of this week, early next week, we're going to have a pretty good game plan."

To have mitigations lifted, the rolling seven-day positivity rate of the region must remain below 6.5 percent for three days.

Schools stay open

Classes in Community Consolidated District 181 and Hinsdale High School District 86 will continue as planned, despite an announcement Monday from the DuPage County Health Department and the DuPage County Regional Office of Education that the county had moved into a "substantial" level of transmission.

In District 181, students are split into two groups, with one attending in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

The district also studied the Northwestern University COVID-19 Community Dashboard and the number of cases in the district, Superintendent Hector Garcia wrote in a letter to families and staff.

"Therefore, after careful and thorough consideration, at this time, there is no change to our current learning models or schedule of school operations," he wrote.

In District 86, students have been split into four groups. Each attends classes for a week at a time and then spends three weeks learning remotely.

"(W)e plan to continue bringing students on campus in conjunction with our phased-in approach for resuming in-person instruction," Superintendent Tammy Prentiss wrote in a memo to parents, citing, among things, a rolling positivity rate of 4.42 percent for communities in District 86.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean