Rockford, Illinois News

Irish Rose Saloon closing indefinitely

ROCKFORD — The Irish Rose Saloon is the latest local restaurant to shut its doors because of coronavirus-related restrictions.

Owner Mike Leifheit says he will close popular downtown dining room indefinitely at the end of business Monday.

“We appreciate any business you can give us until then,” he said in a text message. “We will reopen when we can as a full service restaurant.”

Beginning Tuesday, the Irish Rose will be offering carryout and delivery via Grubhub and DoorDash from 4 to 9 p.m.

Leifheit was one of several restauranteurs to keep his dining room open during the latest round of regional COVID-19 mitigation. Now that restrictions are statewide, he’s decided to modify his operation.

The Irish Rose opened in the 1980s at the corner of East State and Madison streets. It later moved to its current location at East State and Second.

Some local restaurants that have hit the pause button altogether until full service gets the green light again. They include Hoffman House, The Norwegian, Alchemy and Legacy.

Under Tier 3 mitigations, bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m., and are limited to takeout, delivery and outdoor service. All gaming terminals must be suspended, and seating of multiple parties is prohibited.

Other industries affected by Tier 3 restrictions:


  • Operate at no more than 25% capacity, including general merchandise stores, “big box” stores that offer groceries and pharmacy, and convenience stores
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies may operate at up to 50-percent capacity.
  • Encourage delivery or curbside pickup options wherever possible.
  • When in-store shopping is necessary, promote efficient trips and consistent circulation.

Personal Care Service

  • Operate at lesser of 25 clients or 25-percent capacity.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by clients and service providers
  • Suspend services where a face covering cannot be worn (e.g. facials, beard trims).
  • Physical, occupational and massage therapy allowed as deemed necessary by a medical provider, but appointments must be spaced by a minimum of 15 minutes and facilities should take steps to sanitize and circulate clean air through service rooms before and after each service.
  • Virtual consultations recommended.

Health and Fitness Centers

  • Operate at no more than 25-percent capacity
  • No indoor group classes.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing.
  • Reservations required.
  • Locker room areas should be closed.


  • Hotel room occupancy should be limited to registered guests only, with the maximum allowance being the number of individuals permissible per existing fire code for each applicable guest room.
  • Fitness centers should be closed, or operated only on a reservation model, with capacity limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy for the room.
  • Grab and go food allowed.
  • Event and meeting space closed.


  • Additional COVID training for all employees required even if previous training occurred.
  • Operators should coordinate with IDPH to implement testing protocols and contact tracing, upon request, consistent with available testing supplies.
  • All employees must wear face coverings at all times unless eating or drinking.
    Exemptions only for safety purposes.
  • Only manufacturing staff and key personnel allowed in facilities. Non-production employees must work remotely. Non-essential staff and visitors are not permitted. Exemptions only for critical equipment repairs, supply deliveries and safety reasons (“critical visitors”).
  • All critical visitors must have an Employee Health and Safety (EHS)-approved risk-assessment done in advance, including travel history, tracking, and temperature check prior to entrance.
  • Implement additional workstation realignment when feasible.
  • Stagger and space shifts, and designate shift entrances and exits (when possible) to minimize interactions of employees across unique shift groupings.
  • Station sanitation required at beginning and ending of shifts.
  • Operators must suspend covid-related incentive pay and promote staying home when sick or showing symptoms.
  • Implement temporary leave policies to accommodate workers who are sick.
  • Develop and implement safety protocols for employee travel vans to promote spacing, require face coverings, temperature checks, air circulation, and vehicle sanitization.

Meetings, Social Events and Gatherings (including funerals weddings, potlucks)

  • Limit in home gatherings to household members.
  • Meeting rooms, banquet centers, private party rooms, private clubs and country clubs may not host gatherings.
  • No party buses.
  • Funerals are limited to 10 family members of the decedents, not including staff, see IDPH guidance.


  • All employees who can work remotely should work remotely.

Organized Group Recreational Activities (sports, indoor sports and activity facilities, etc.)

  • Pause all indoor group sporting and recreational activities including youth and adult recreational sports, individual training may remain (with facility reservation).
    Includes park districts and travel leagues.
  • Outdoor sports and recreation allowed.
  • Participant groups and practices outdoors limited to 10 persons or less with social distancing.
  • Face coverings required for all activities at all times.
  • Locker rooms should be closed.

Indoor Recreation, Theaters, Cultural Institutions (e.g. casinos, bowling, arcades, movie theaters, museums and zoos)

  • Gaming and casinos must close.
  • Indoor recreation centers, including theaters, performing arts centers and indoor museums and amusement centers are closed.
  • Live streaming of performances encouraged with social distancing of performers and minimum operational staff.
  • Outdoor activities allowed at 25-percent capacity or less.
  • Outdoor group activities limited to 10 persons or less, participants/guests must wear face coverings at all times.
  • Reservations required for each guest for outdoor activities.

Businesses that violate the statewide order are subject to fines,  and liquor license forfeiture.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will continue to track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over a 14-day monitoring periods to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place.

In order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience a less-than 12-percent test positivity average for three consecutive days and greater than 20-percent available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability for three consecutive days, and  declining seven-day COVID hospitalizations average in seven out of the last 10 days.

This story has been updated.

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