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A Chicago restaurant owned by one of the city's aldermen was caught violating state and municipal lockdown orders by welcoming patrons for indoor dining.
City inspectors investigated Ann Sather restaurant, a popular local breakfast establishment owned by Democratic Alderman Tom Tunney, who is also the city's Vice Mayor, after reports surfaced of the restaurant violating the lockdown orders forcing businesses to shut their doors to indoor patrons, Daily Wire reports.
Indoor dining has been banned by the state of Illinois since October 30 in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus in the state. Despite a surge in cases at the beginning of December, the state has seen some success reducing coronavirus numbers since mid-November.
"We have, on occasion, sat regular diners in the back of the restaurant," Tunney admitted. "I acknowledge that. It’s not OK. I made a mistake, and I’m owning up to it. I should have not sat regular customers in my restaurant whatsoever."
"I have a lot of repeat customers over the years," he continued. "On a sporadic basis, I have let regular customers — very few and far between — in my store. I made an error."
"On a sporadic basis, we have allowed a very limited number of our regular diners to eat inside the restaurant while observing social distancing and mask-wearing rules, Tunney acknowledged in an official statement. "This was [an] error in judgment and won’t happen again."
It was also revealed that not only did Ann Sather violate lockdown orders, but took steps to actively conceal their behaviour. The restaurant has largely only been allowing frequent customers to enter, and patrons are brought to a VIP room.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, commenting on the revelation, said "[any] business found in violation of these guidelines has been and will be held fully accountable. No exceptions."
Lightfoot also came under criticism for ignoring lockdown orders in April despite her vigorous support for them. At a time when Chicagoans were not even allowed to exercise outside, Lightfoot went to a hair salon to get her hair done. In November, she attended a large outdoor gathering in support of the presumptive President-Elect Joe Biden a week before shutting down her city again. In both instances she came up with excuses for her actions.