City of Rockford Will Suspend Liquor Licenses As Last Resort
The battle between some bars/restaurants and local and state governments is only getting tenser and tenser.
By now we are all aware of Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzkers, mitigation orders in our region. We also know Winnebago County Health Department has agreed to lax on some of the original "shut down" requirements. This, in major part, do to Rockford's mayor and state officials sending a letter director Governor Pritzker encouraging him to all bars and restaurants to remain open with restrictions to allow businesses to operate as much as possible despite the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. For some business owners that is simply not enough in their opinions.
The problem now lies within businesses choosing to operate at their discretion versus following the protocols set forth but Winnebago County Health Department, which would allow them to stay open with a max of 25 people inside, along with mask and social distancing requirements. It's understandable for all bars and restaurants in our region to be concerned about the fate of their business. On the flipside, local officials have gone to bat for them to garner loosened restrictions which were Pritzker pretty much shutting down all indoor operations in our region. Despite the attempt at having their backs, some owners have given a middle finger so-to-speak and are doing what they want. This is forcing city officials into another awkward position.
The City of Rockford released another statement pretty much laying it all on the line. Play nice, follow the rules, or be at risk of major consequences. This, of course, is a "last resort" scenario.
Fines or additional enforcement measures, up to and including suspension of liquor licenses, will only be used as a last resort for businesses that continue to put the health of our community at risk.
As you will find in further into the statement, Mayor McNamara understands the whole "back and forth" rule changes is not preferred but they (the city) are doing their best to keep businesses open inside and out.
You can read the full statement HERE.