A step toward normal

While Our Neighborhood Grill was not busy with dine-in lunch orders on Monday, May 4, owner Ashley Holub said dine-in remains a popular option for the breakfast crowd and carry-out orders piled up on the bar. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds gave the OK to restaurants and retail stores in 77 counties last Friday, allowing for dine-in and shopping at 50 percent capacity. Some businesses are choosing to wait, while others wait for customers to feel comfortable about coming out to shop and eat. (Seth McDuffee photo)
Seth McDuffee

Butler County re-opens partially, to mixed results

On Friday, May 1, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds loosened restrictions on libraries, restaurants, fitness centers, retail stores and more in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties, which includes Butler County. However, despite the lightening of provisions, area residents appear to be continuing to respect social distancing guidelines.

On Monday, downtown Parkersburg was largely unoccupied through most of the day. While there are still vehicles parked along the street, there is very little foot traffic, and those that do leave their cars, do so quickly, dashing inside to get essential items or to pick up their to-go food orders. Most of the businesses on the strip have remained closed during this time, many with signs hanging from the door explaining that they will be closed until further notice.

Restaurants in the area seem to have seen mixed results. Some establishments are continuing only with carry-out service, while others are allowing customers to sit and eat their food.

In Aplington, the Peppercorn Pantry posted to their social media account that they would be open the week of May 4 – 8 for take-out only, but switching to dine-in the following week as well. For Heaven’s Sake has said they are postponing their re-open until May 15 to adhere to the state-wide mandate of safety regulations. Gov. Reynolds has ordered businesses in 22 counties deemed to be hotspots for COVID-19 to be closed until at least May 15, and certain businesses including bars and salons/barber shops remain closed in the 77 counties that saw loosened restrictions last Friday.

Ashley Holub, owner of Our Neighborhood Grill, said that even with the eatery at fifty-percent capacity, they still had a busy Monday morning for dine-in, though the lunch hour brought an overabundance of pick up orders, with little foot traffic.

Matt Wildeboer, of Matt’s Bar and Grill said that it was still too early to tell if there was going to be any major changes to their hours or operations. After an underwhelming weekend with dine-in service, he believes that residents might still be exercising caution with venturing into some locations. Their business hours were modified to uphold the COVID-19 guidelines, but in these early stages of reopening the state, Wildeboer is waiting to see how customers choose to approach the situation.

“We are still closed on Tuesday,” he said, “…if we see an improvement, then we’ll go back to the old hours.”

Colleen Martindale, owner of Sip n’ Shop in the downtown area has seen an uptick in traffic since Friday, but she’s not sure whether to attribute it to the relaxed ordinance or the beautiful weather that has been basking the area. She’s still choosing to stick to carry-out for all of her orders.

“There are still a lot of people concerned,” Martindale said, “some of my customers still prefer I meet them at the door, so that they don’t have to come in. For now, I’ll keep doing carry-out only.”


Parkersburg Eclipse News-Review
503 Coates St.
Parkersburg, IA 50665
Phone:  319-346-1461

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