10 restaurants in Lake County were cited and nine of them were fined for violating the state’s second indoor dining ban, health officials said.
Lawrence Mackey, the Director of Environmental Health for the Lake County Health Department, said the 10 cases were heard on Monday at an Administrative Adjudication hearing.
Two of the restaurants, Jimmy’s Charhouse in Libertyville and Moretti’s in Fox Lake, both pled liable and were fined $550 each.
One of the restaurants, Original Omega in Mundelein, had their case continued to March 8, Mackey said.
The seven other restaurants include The Point in Gurnee, Fox Lake Family Rest in Fox Lake, Jen G’s in Beach Park, Granny’s Lakeside Diner in Antioch, Jesse Oaks in Grayslake, Whistle Stop Cafe in Fox Lake, and JD Bootleggers in Antioch.
Those seven restaurants were all found liable at the Monday hearing and fined $400 by the hearing officer, Mackey told Lake and McHenry County Scanner.
Attorney Thomas DeVore, who represented most of the restaurants, argued that the health department had “no real mechanism in the law” to enforce the state’s indoor dining ban, so they used the county’s nuisance ordinance, the Daily Herald reported.
“They played a fiction with local ordinance. They didn’t have a way to enforce it, so they had to use this ruse,” DeVore told the paper.
Mackey said all of the restaurants were indeed cited for violating a section of the county’s public nuisance ordinance.
He said that the nuisance was that they were allowing or creating conditions “that were detrimental or potentially detrimental to the health of the inhabitants” of Lake County by serving people indoors.
Mackey added that the health department had previously warned and cited all ten of the restaurants but they continued to serve indoors during the state’s second indoor dining ban.
All restaurants and bars in Illinois are now in Phase 4 reopening and are allowed to be open indoors with a limited capacity of customers.