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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

West Loop Bar And Restaurant Shut Down By City For ‘Blatantly Disregarding’ Coronavirus Reopening Rules

The Wise Owl Drinkery and Cookhouse, 324 S. Racine Ave., was operating over capacity and violating a slew of other COVID-19 precautions, city officials said.

Wise Owl Drinkery was shut down by the city for violating coronavirus precautions.
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WEST LOOP — A West Loop bar and restaurant was shut down over the weekend by the city for violating coronavirus safety measures, officials said.

The Wise Owl Drinkery and Cookhouse, 324 S. Racine Ave., was operating over capacity, not enforcing social distancing or mask-wearing and allowing customers to mingle out of their seats, city officials said.

The closure came as Business Affairs and Consumer Protections (BACP) are cracking down on businesses that are not following safety precautions to protect employees and customers as part of the city’s reopening strategy.

As part of the shutdown, the Wise Owl was shut down on Saturday and Sunday evenings and received four citations that could total up to $40,000, city officials said.

Because of the violations, the city revoked the bars expanded outdoor dining permit and will not allow the Wise Owl to operate on their parking lot.

The closing only impacted Saturday and Sunday operations but is pursuing additional disciplinary actions, city officials said.

Last weekend, Chicago Lakefront Cruises was also shut down for egregiously violating social distancing requirements.

“While most businesses are taking the necessary precautions to keep their customers and employees safe, the city will continue to hold the bad actors accountable, and this weekend we issued an immediate closure order to one bar for egregiously and blatantly disregarding the reopening requirements,” said Isaac Reichman, a city spokesman.

Irresponsible actions like this put our entire city at risk and will not be tolerated,” Reichman added.

RELATED: ‘We Will Shut You Down’: City Will Close Bars, Restaurants If They Break Coronavirus Rules, Lightfoot Warns

Earlier this month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed to shut down bars and restaurants that don’t follow measures put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“If we see businesses that are flouting the rules … we’re not gonna hesitate to shut you down. And if you’re shut down, you’re not coming back anytime soon,” Lightfood said.

Businesses that violate face covering guidelines can receive citations of up to $10,000 each, Rosa Escareno, BACP commissioner, previously said. Those found to have an “egregious” disregard for health and safety guidelines will be shut down, she added.

“The time for awareness and education is over, and the time to be serious about keeping our city safe starts now,” Escareno said.

Throughout the weekend, BACP conducted 47 investigations, issued 12 total citations to six businesses for failing to follow the phase four guidelines, Reichman said in an email statement. 

The department has received 1,276 reopening complaints since June 3. To date, they have conducted 557 investigations, cited 25 business, issued 85 warnings and ordered the immediate closure of two businesses, the city said.

Owners for the Wise Owl Drinkery and Cookhouse could not be immediately reached for comment.

Wise Owl Drinkery and Cookhouse opened May 2015, according to DNAinfo.

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