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Two people file complaints against four Gurnee-area restaurants that reopened indoor dining

Timothy O’Toole’s Pub in Gurnee is one of several restaurants that has reopened their indoor dining at a limited capacity. | Photo: Google Street View.

The health department said that two people have filed complaints against all four Gurnee-area restaurants that reopened together in defiance of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The coalition of restaurants includes Timothy O’Toole’s Pub in Gurnee, Stevens’ in Gurnee, Kaiser’s Pizza and Pub in Gurnee, and The Shanty in Wadsworth.

Lake County Health Department Director of Environmental Health Lawrence Mackey said that officials will visit each restaurant after two people filed complaints citing all four of the restaurants, the Daily Herald reported.

The restaurants issued a joint statement on January 7 that they would reopen their establishments at a “25% social-distanced reduced indoor capacity” on January 15.

“For the past ten months, our establishments have restructured nearly every aspect of our business models to follow all health recommendations for the safety of our patrons and work families. Our commitments to our community have gone far beyond the guidelines, and our restaurants currently remain among the last closed for indoor dining service,” the statement said.

“Our teams have sacrificed a lot since March with two full indoor shutdowns, but we stand together and are very proud of the decisions we have made as a restaurant community,” the statement added.

The owners of the four restaurants met and decided on reopening their indoor dining. They also notified local health officials of their decision.

Mackey said that if the restaurants are found to be violating state rules then they will be issued an ordinance violation notice.

The ordinance states the restaurants must comply and if they do not then a citation carrying a minimum fine of $115 plus $50 in court costs would be issued, Mackey told the Daily Herald. The maximum fine would be $1,000.

The first person filed their complaint with the health department the same day the restaurants reopened and the second person filed theirs on Tuesday.

The owners have said their four restaurants were recently denied Illinois Business Interruption Grants because the state ran out of money to fund the program.

Riverside Cafe in Gurnee has also announced they were reopening indoor dining at 25% capacity. “We are local, we are real people with real employees that depend on us to be able to provide for their families. We stand behind every single restaurant that has decided to open in a safe manner,” the owner said in a social media post.

Lake County is currently in Tier 2 mitigations and could soon be downgraded to Tier 1 mitigations, which allows limited indoor dining, in the coming days.