Tensions within the restaurant industry are mounting as owners worry about irresponsible operators who’ve ignored government-mandated safety precautions like mask wearing and social distancing. The fear is that recklessness will cast a shadow upon the industry and force health experts and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to once again close bars and restaurants.
Bar service and indoor dining resumed on June 26 in Chicago at a 25-percent capacity. While many owners abided by laws, including having hand sanitizer stations, requiring customers to wear masks unless seated, and properly cleaning seating areas, some didn’t take COVID-19 — a disease that’s killed more than 7,000 in Illinois — seriously.
Case in point: a video recorded outside the Dugout, a sports bar steps away from Wrigley Field. The footage’s timestamp is at 12:44 a.m. on Sunday (right now, Chicago bars can only stay open until 11 p.m.). Customers are shown without wearing masks without following social distancing guidelines.
#abc #nbc #cbs #foxnews #cnn #wgn #cpd #mayorlightfoot #thedugout #wrigleyville #barrescue #jontaffer Everyone share this post please. This guy is the problem. If the police won’t shut him down, then we have to Ok so just to clear up some of questions here. No, I didn’t go into that establishment. I had friends tell me he has been ignoring all protocol that all the same bars in his neighborhood are going by. That is a slap in the face to our entire industry. So yeah I went and did something about it. Like it or not we have all been following the rules laid out by our Mayor. Whether you agree with said laws isn’t in question here. What is in question is this.... why does one bar owner think he’s better than all of us and allowed to make money off people when other bar owners are following the guidelines and shutting down by 11? You can threaten my life, call me rat, call me a scumbag, text me all hours of the night and scream at me to burn in hell mother fucker, and hell even try to lure me to a bar and jump me (nice try Rick) but it still doesn’t change the fact that he has zero respect for any of us. He can’t even respect himself enough to stay sober and run a reputable business. So ya I think I’m doing the right thing here. Have a great week y’allPosted by Michael Beard on Saturday, July 4, 2020
Michael Beard, a Chicago bartender, recorded the video and posted it on Facebook. He says he’s never visited the Dugout and doesn’t have a vendetta against owner Ed Cressy. Beard tells Eater Chicago that “this is just me sticking up for the silent majority in my industry” worried the city will close bars and restaurants again if COVID-19 cases spike.
The Dugout, 950 W. Addison Street, was the subject of Bar Rescue, the controversial reality TV show that remodeled struggling taverns. Owner Cressy tells CBS Chicago that he kicked Beard out of the bar for arguing and that the video is just bitterness. He adds that Dugout follows city and state regulations. Commenters have insulted Beard online, calling him — among other things — a snitch for publishing the video showing the Dugout breaking rules. Some have challenged him to fights. Beard claims he’s been getting death threats.
A spokesperson at the city’s department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, says he hadn’t seen the Facebook video. No one has sent the city a formal complaint about the Dugout, the spokesperson adds. When outdoor dining resumed in early June, the city began fielding complaints about West Loop restaurants skirting the rules. The offenders were only given warnings.
During July 4 weekend, Chicago officials conducting 49 “full investigations in entertainment districts” in response to complaints. It issued 10 citations to five business for failing to maintain social distancing. The city won’t release a list of those fined businesses, but they face fines of up to $10,000. The city also closed down a tour boat operator for “ that showed egregious disregard for the health and safety of their employees and customers by blatantly ignoring the reopening requirements.” While the city didn’t identify the operator, media reports say it was Chicago Lakefront Cruises.
The reopening of restaurants and bars has also ignited frustrations among workers unhappy with overall working conditions. The George Floyd protests continue to permeate the workforce and workers are still posting accounts of poor treatment at restaurants. Many of these stories center around race. In the case of Wicker Park’s popular Piece Pizza, workers were unhappy that the restaurant continued to operate on May 31 as looters shattered windows and raided stores along Milwaukee Avenue, which is directly behind the pizzeria. Workers expressed displeasure with the perception that they were content to return to work with safety hazards and the looming expiration of the federal Payment Protection Program (PPP). The government has since extended benefits through August 8.
Angry that their contributions and sacrifices were being taken for granted, a group of Piece workers made a list of demands public. Demands include that Piece should undergo a “racial and equity audit” and to provide more “upward mobility for workers of color.” Piece owner Bill Jacobs acknowledged poor judgement in allowing Piece to remain open during looting which made commutes dangerous for workers, particular those who commute from marginalized neighborhoods. He made his own social media posts saying he wants to hear more from workers to develop the best way to move forward.
Piece is just the latest restaurant where workers have voiced disappointment. The list includes Honey Butter Fried Chicken, the Robey, Furious Spoon, and Kanela Breakfast Club. Worker outcry also led to the closure of Fat Rice, an acclaimed Logan Square restaurant.
And in other news...
— Restaurant and arcade bar Replay Andersonville is closed until Friday after a server tested positive for COVID-19, according to Block Club Chicago. Owner Mark Liberson announced the temporary closure in a Facebook post on Sunday, detailing the protocols and procedures he and staff followed once they were notified about the staff member who tested positive. The restaurant, which sits on the corner of Clark and Balmoral Streets, has been participating in the city’s “Make Way” program, which has closed several city streets to create additional space for outdoor dining. In Logan Square, Longman & Eagle closed after a worker tested positive. The city and state haven’t provided restaurants with rules to follow after a worker is infected — there aren’t rules stating how long a place should remain closed. The Illinois Restaurant Association does have suggestions.
— Taste of Chicago To-Go, the city’s coronavirus-era alternative to the annual downtown food extravaganza, kicks off Wednesday with a food truck procession near Grant Park. The virtual festival will run through Sunday, featuring free programming like online cooking demonstrations, music, and more.
— Fulton Market stalwart Northwestern Cutlery, one of the last remnants of the neighborhood’s meatpacking district, has sold its longtime building at 810 W. Lake Street after 50 years, according to the Tribune. The family-owned knife and kitchenware company plans to relocate to Norwood Park in September when current operator Marty Petlicki will retire and his niece, Jessica Ruhl, will officially take over. Developers reportedly plan to raze the old structure — along with the building next door that currently houses Publican Quality Bread’s bakery — to build a 21-story hotel.
— Neighbors and fans have rallied around traditional Polish restaurant Podhalanka after owner Helena Madej told reporters that without financial help, the restaurant on the Wicker Park/Noble Square border would close, according to Block Club Chicago. Supporters have set up a number of online fundraisers and offered their web design and photography skills to give the restaurant a more robust online presence.