LAKEVIEW — Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) was fined $2,000 for allowing diners inside one of his Lakeview Ann Sather restaurants in December, defying Gov. JB Pritzker’s indoor dining ban as coronavirus cases surged.
The Ann Sather restaurant, located at 909 W. Belmont Ave. was caught seating people inside Dec. 6 in spite of the statewide mandate. It was cited twice on Dec. 8 for the incident, according to Isaac Reichman, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
The city’s Department of Administrative Hearings issued the restaurant a $2,000 fine following a Feb. 16 hearing. He could have been fined up to $10,500 for both citations.
In an emailed statement, Tunney said the restaurant paid the fine and looks “forward to the further lessening of the restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses as the COVID positivity rate continues to fall and more individuals are vaccinated.”
The state halted indoor service at restaurants and bars Nov. 20. When a reporter visited the restaurant in early December, he was told by an employee that they had just stopped seating indoors after the now-defunct blog Second City Cop showed photos of people dining inside from the week before.
“We were seating some people, but somebody ratted us out,” the employee said.
At the time, Tunney released a statement characterizing his decision to allow patrons inside as a mistake.
“On a sporadic basis, we have allowed a very limited number of our regular diners to eat inside the restaurant while observing social distancing and mask-wearing rules. This was [an] error in judgement and won’t happen again,” the statement read.
Pritzker began lifting indoor dining restrictions in mid-January and the city now can serve customers indoors at 40 percent capacity.
Tunney has owned Ann Sather since 1981 and been alderman since 2003.
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