(WSIL) -- Businesses reeling from the pandemic are starting to get a break in Randolph County and the Metro East area.
That's because the Illinois Department of Public Health is easing restrictions on the region since the rate of new COVID-19 cases has dropped.
Health officials say there's a lot of testing being performed, but the number of infections is going down.
The rolling average positivity rate in Region 4 is now cut in half from a high of 10.5% in August.
That means bars and restaurants in Randolph County and the region can now open indoor dining and bar service.
These restrictions have been hurting business.
Now that the ban is lifted, tables can now be spaced six feet apart for customers dining inside with 25-percent capacity in standing areas like a bar.
However--if businesses were to have to go back to phase 3 restrictions again, alternatives such as outdoor dining may not work as well in the colder months.
"If we have to go back to phase three any time during the winter and the cold months, some of these restaurants and other businesses won't be able to survive," said Andy Waterman, the Illinois South Tourism Communications Manager.
For an area to be able to stay in the Phase 4 guidelines, counties must maintain under an 8% positivity rate.
Now that businesses are open, Waterman recommends supporting businesses as much as you can as safely as you can in order to help make up for any business they may have lost during the lockdown and subsequent rollback.