East Dubuque residents, businesses coping with Illinois shelter-in-place order

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EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. (KCRG) - At noon on a normal workday, it would be very hard to find a parking spot around the East Dubuque City Hall, but now you can take your pick; they are everywhere.

Parking spaces sit empty in East Dubuque, Ill., after the state's governor issued a shelter-in-place order to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Photo date: Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Fernando Garcia-Franceschini/KCRG)

This trend started last Saturday after J.B. Pritzer, governor of Illinois, issued a "shelter-in-place" order, which means that people are required to stay inside except for when they need to get essentials, like food and medicine.

Loras Herrig, city manager of East Dubuque, said the change has been noticeable.

"It's definitely affecting our normal life and how we look at things," Herrig said. "Maybe we just don't hop in the car as quickly as we used to."

Michael Meyer, the owner of the restaurant The Other Side, said the order has really affected his business.

"Our major income is from selling alcohol and from gaming revenue and when they shut us down there's also no gaming revenue as well," Meyer said.

Because of the order, they can only serve carry-out or delivery. That's what they're doing even if the streets are empty.

"I went to deliver a pizza on Saturday night at 8 o'clock and I was the only car driving on the street," Meyer said. "It is a different world."

Herrig said that, since Dubuque tends to be affected by what happens in Illinois and Wisconsin, a similar order might be next. He said, however, that people should not see it as oppressive but rather a way to encourage people to stay inside.