Yes, it’s safe to eat out during a boil order. But don’t expect your dining experience to be the same.
Ice machines are shut down, coffee makers stop brewing and humming dishwashers are often silent in response to an alert.
You should see canned and bottled drinks on the table. The restroom should be stocked with bottled water, too.
Sharon Valentine, director of environmental protections at St Clair County Health Department, said restaurants shouldn’t serve you ice, they shouldn’t give you soda from a fountain and employees need to wash their hands with bottled water.
During the lunch rush Wednesday, restaurants throughout St. Clair County were forced to change their daily routine when the boil order was issued.
Balance Coffee and Tea on South Illinois Street was one of the only places still serving hot drinks in Belleville. The coffee shop pulls its water from a 300-gallon tank, owner Marshall Morris said.
That means it’s business as usual for the shop while other establishments ran out to get water and bottled drinks Wednesday.
During a previous boil order, waiters at Main St. Cafe in Belleville rolled in long carts of bottled drinks to accommodate guests. The restaurant took the same steps Wednesday.
A few miles away at Tarven on Main, owner Mark Onstott said he would switch to canned soda instead of serving fountain drinks.
“Things get a little bit harder at night,” Onstott explained.
More customers want mixed cocktails, such as water and Whiskey, which means Onstott will have to bring in more bottled water and maybe even a tank to accommodate the demand.
He’ll also have to decide if the tavern will need to switch to disposable dishware and silverware.
Olive Garden in Fairview Heights has served meals with paper plates and plastic utensils until the water was safe to use again.
Valentine said not using the dishwasher is up the restaurant owner, but all dishes should be rinsed properly.
Jeff Bair, owner of Pour @322, in downtown Belleville said his business on Main Street would still be able to serve customers.
The coffee shop boils individual cups and serves pour over coffee when a boil order is issued.