FILE - Virus Outbreak Missouri

People gather at a restaurant in the Country Club Plaza shopping district Friday, May 15, 2020 in Kansas City, Mo. 

(The Center Square) – While Illinois remains under a stay-at-home order, its neighbors have reopened for business and some Illinoisans are traveling to other states to spend their money.    

Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s five-phase reopening plan, bars and restaurants will not be allowed to reopen until late June at the earliest.   

Just over the Missouri border in St. Charles County, shops, bars and restaurants were given the green light to reopen May 4. 

Alexis Steubis, a bartender at Hendricks BBQ in St. Charles, said she has served a steady flow of customers from Illinois since the restaurant reopened. 

“A lot. We had a group of 15 people from Illinois the other day,” Steubis said. “I had a group of women who said they drove an hour and a half to get pedicures and to get lunch and drinks.” 

Bridget Alderson, who owns the French Flea in downtown St. Charles, said for a while she thought she was going to lose her business because of the pandemic and related shutdowns. 

“We were having to do negotiations with the landlord and get assistance from the government, but a lot of us don’t qualify,” Alderson said.   

Since she reopened her shop, Alderson said business has been good, with many customers coming over from Illinois. 

“It seems like all the license plates are Illinois," she said. "People are coming from across the river to get out and be normal again."

The St. Charles County Health Department reported Monday that the number of COVID-19 cases has been trending downward.  

St. Louis and the surrounding county are loosening restrictions on businesses this week.  

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.