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Libertyville mayor says town will defy governor, not enforce new restrictions on restaurants

File Photo | Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler.

The mayor of Libertyville called Gov. Pritzker’s new restrictions banning indoor dining “self-serving” and says that no enforcement action will be taken against Libertyville restaurants that stay open.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Wednesday that indoor service at bars and restaurants will be banned starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday in Lake and McHenry counties.

Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, has seen a 7-day positivity rate of 8% or above for three consecutive days. COVID-related hospital admissions have increased, now three times as high as September and five times as high as June.

Lake and McHenry counties will join seven out of the 11 other regions in Illinois that will be under virus mitigations, Pritzker said.

Public gatherings will be reduced to 25 people and indoor dining and indoor bar service will be closed. Outdoor service along with takeout, delivery and drive-through service will remain open.

“I had a conference call with all of our Libertyville restaurants this afternoon and after consulting with our trustees we have decided that we are not going to be taking any enforcement action against the restaurants that stay open,” Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler said.

“I know the COVID virus is dangerous and I am as concerned as many of you that we protect people’s health. However, there have been no issues of Libertyville restaurants spreading COVID,” Weppler said.

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He added that there have been a few instances where a restaurant employee tested positive for the virus and in each case the restaurant closed for cleaning and took all precautionary measures to protect their customers.

Weppler said that he spoke with Senator Dan McConchie, who told him that the Lake County Health Department had not seen a connection between the current restaurant rules and an increase in COVID cases.

“The governor’s order is self-serving since he allows customers to go into restaurants with gambling machines and gamble since the state gets 30% of the gambling money,” Weppler said.

He added that he knows many people may not feel comfortable going into restaurants and doing indoor dining. “I respect that position. However, I believe the restaurants are being made scapegoats on this issue do not want to stand by and see us lose our local businesses,” Weppler said.

Pritzker said that the resurgence mitigations aim to cut down some of the high-risk activities “until we bring down the positivity rate.”

“I know this virus is hard on everyone. But this battle isn’t going away by itself,” Pritzker said in a statement.

“We have to manage our way through it with the tools we have available to us. And there are many of those tools that nearly everyone in our state has available to join the fight,” Pritzker added.


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