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CHICAGO –Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) today announced a temporary Public Health Order prohibiting all liquor sales citywide after 9 p.m. each evening as part of the latest measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Chicago’s communities. To further ensure all businesses and residents are properly complying with Governor Pritzker’s Stay at Home Order, the new measure, effective tomorrow evening, Thursday, April 9th, will help prevent congregate activity that has been observed across the city near stores that sell alcohol, particularly during evening hours.
This measure builds on ongoing enforcement measures by CPD and BACP to ensure businesses are compliant with the latest public health measures to keep residents safe. Recent enforcement measures have led to 21 citations issued for up to $120,000 in fines for eight businesses violating the statewide mandate.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we have taken every possible step to keep our residents safe, and today’s order builds on that effort by further ensuring residents stay at home and therefore, save lives,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our business owners understand that public safety and public health is more important than profit and I want to thank them for not only their patience during this time but most importantly, their cooperation and partnership to keep our residents safe.”
Since the Stay at Home order went into effect, CPD has given 2,033 dispersal orders in response to large gatherings of residents and has issued 11 citations for up to $5,500 in fines to individuals not adhering to dispersal orders and violating the Stay at Home Order. This new Public Health Order will give CPD and BACP enforcement authority to further curb non-compliance, with potential penalties for liquor sales after 9 p.m. including $500 fine, arrest and revocation of liquor and other licenses. Earlier this week, CPD joined liquor stores on the West Side that agreed voluntarily to close early to encourage people to stay home.
"Nothing is more important than making sure Chicago families are safe and healthy," said CPD Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck. "Liquor stores across the city have already partnered with us to adjust hours and today's order will allow us to expand citywide to further protect Chicagoans from the spread of Covid-19."
Effective March 21, 2020, and recently extended to last through the end of April, Governor Pritzker’s Stay at Home Order mandates that only essential businesses, such as grocery stores, banks and laundromats, continue operating. Furthermore, the order creates social distancing guidelines that essential businesses are required to follow while in operation. Details on the Stay at Home Order, including which businesses are considered essential, can be found at www.chicago.gov/coronavirus.
“Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois supports Mayor Lightfoot’s latest measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in an effort to keep Chicago’s communities safe,” said Jeremy Kruidenier, Vice Executive Director and General Counsel for Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois. “The wine and spirits industry also commends the Mayor’s decision to keep licensed wine and spirits retailers open for business, providing residents with safe and legal access to regulated product.”
Since the Stay at Home Order came into effect, BACP has allocated significant resources to enforcement and education. To date, the City of Chicago has received over 1,000 complaints of businesses operating in violation of the Stay at Home Order. In response to these complaints, and as part of the Department’s proactive steps to communicate the requirements of the Stay at Home Order, BACP has conducted 690 in-person investigations and contacted 4,881 businesses over the phone. This has led to 21 citations against eight businesses that have violated the order.
“While the vast majority of businesses in Chicago have stepped up, we are committed to holding accountable those businesses that flaunt the Stay at Home Order and put our community at risk,” said Rosa Escareno, BACP Commissioner. “The Stay at Home Order is not optional. We will continue our strong enforcement efforts – the health of our community depends on it.”
BACP has issued citations to the following businesses for violating the Stay at Home Order:
Each of these citations could lead to a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, as part of these investigations, BACP has issued citations for other violations to businesses found to have violated the Stay at Home Order. The citations, for violations including operating without the required business license, are part of BACP efforts to take strong enforcement action against businesses that violate the Stay at Home Order. Furthermore, BACP is issuing a notice to Shared Housing Intermediaries, such as Airbnb and HomeAway, and thousands of hosts to provide official warning of their obligation to take proactive measures to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.
To provide direction to essential businesses that are operating during this difficult time, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has put together detailed Guidance for Businesses and Employers, which includes steps that businesses should take if an employee, contractor or client is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. This week, BACP launched a campaign to share information on steps essential businesses can take to protect their workers and consumers.
Additionally, through the Office of Labor Standards, BACP has created a Know Your Rights flier with answers to frequently asked questions that essential workers may have related to COVID-19. Under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, certain employees are guaranteed Paid Sick Time from the federal government for leave used for specific reasons related to COVID-19. BACP’s Director of Labor Standards Andy Fox will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 9, at 2:00pm to inform workers and employers of their rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. To register, visit www.chicago.gov/businessworkshops.
To support businesses during this difficult time, the City of Chicago has established the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund to provide low interest loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Applications were made available on March 31 for loans of up to $50,000 for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and annual revenue under $3 million. To inform businesses of this and other financing opportunities, BACP hosted 13 webinars in four languages, with over 5,000 participants.