PEORIA — Businesses all over central Illinois are crafting coronavirus policies in an effort to reassure their customers and protect their employees.

“We did it to inform our customers we are taking it very seriously,” said Emily Cotton, co-owner of the restaurant Cyd’s in the Park.

The locally-owned restaurant and market posted their policy on FaceBook late Wednesday night. It describes what the restaurant is doing to stem the spread of infection, while also making a few requests of their guests. People who work in restaurants are not able to practice social distancing, so now more than ever it’s important for folks to be respectful of others in public. Frequent handwashing and refraining from public activitis if you are sick are two of the CDC’s recommendations re-iterated in Cyd’s coronavirus statement.

It’s an issue Cotton is very concerned about. She would like to see people take it a step further.

“Wipe down your credit cards. If you use a credit card every day, wipe it down every day. It’s mindful and helpful to people who are accepting them,” she said during a phone interview Thursday morning.

“Trust me, sometimes I wake up in the morning and read the news, and, sure, I would like to stay in and not be a part of the public. But unfortunately we have people that work here every day and depend on that, and we depend on the public coming in every day.”

As people begin practicing social distancing and going out less, loss of revenue is a big concern for area business owners. For now business seems to be continuing as usual at Cyd’s.

“February and early March aren’t always the most barn-burner months for restaurants in Peoria, but our burger night last night was full, which made me feel good that people trust us,” said Cotton. “But Peoria can sometimes be a little bit on the behind for trends. It’s not that I don’t think it’s coming. I do, and that’s a scary thought.”

Cotton was heartened to hear President Trump suggest waiving payroll taxes during a speech Wednesday evening.

“That would be huge to small businesses,” she said.

Other area eateries have also put out coronavirus statements. Zion Coffee joined Starbucks in discontinuing the practice of filling customer’s own coffee cups, and Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern has temporarily eliminated all community condiments:

“...barbecue sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper, sweeteners, etc. will be available upon request in single use disposable containers.”

Restaurants are not the only businesses addressing the issue. Financial institutions have sent out notices to re-assure nervous investors, the Peoria Public Library temporarily restricted access to public computers, and the Peoria Riverfront Museum let patrons know that they are increasing the frequency of cleaning across the museum, particularly on touchable displays.

Even social service organizations like JOLT Harm Reduction have crafted coronavirus policies. The organization let patrons know that while drop-in services have been suspended, delivery services will be increased.

JOLT Harm Reduction serves people struggling with substance use disorder, helping them to minimize the harm their illness causes while offering a road to recovery. Interpersonal support is a key part of the program, and social distancing makes it much more difficult for them to serve their clients, an issue reflected in their coronavirus policy:

“We love to hug our people but for the time being some forms of physical contact will be kept to a minimum. Please don't be offended by this. We love you and want you to be safe and healthy. We think we might bring back the courtesy and bow to one another as a more formal greeting.”

Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or Follow her on, and subscribe to her on