PILSEN — A family-run neighborhood liquor store and bar was vandalized and its manager threatened by a group after one man was denied entry for not having a COVID-19 vaccine card, which the city requires for entry to bars.
The incident happened Sunday at El Trebol Liquors and Bar, 1135 W. 18th St. Someone in the group threatened El Trebol’s manager with a knife during the incident, but he was not injured, he said.
At about 11:30 p.m., a group of eight to 10 people walked into the bar and the manager asked for their IDs and vaccine cards, said the bar manager, who asked not to be named while police are investigating. One man in the group didn’t have his vaccine card, so the manager had to deny him entry, he said.
The guy started “making a big stink about it” and talking back, but eventually the entire group left, the manager said.
Shortly after, a second man in the group returned and tried to steal beer from the store, the manager said. The manager kicked that man out — then a third man shattered the bar’s front door. The manager then called police, he said.
While standing outside the bar to assess the damage and attempting to talk to the group, the man who shattered the bar’s door ran up to the manager with a knife. The manager wasn’t hurt, and the individual backed up when someone in the group called out to him, he said.
Police confirmed the incident is being investigated.
Chicago began requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination at some indoor businesses, including bars and restaurants, Jan. 3.
“We are extremely concerned and disheartened by this unfortunate incident that left our employees and patrons worried for their safety,” the bar’s staff wrote in a post online. “At El Trebol we are committed to follow the city’s COVID-19 mandates to ensure the well-being of our patrons. We will continue to enforce the mandates and request a valid vaccination card and identification before entry.”
El Trebol posted pictures from security surveillance of the group on social media, asking the public for help identifying the people responsible.
El Trebol’s manager said he was frustrated with the city’s decision to push the burden of checking for vaccination cards on workers. He said he also faced frustration from patrons over the city’s and state’s mask mandates.
“The mayor puts us [workers] on the front line of this,” the manager said. “This is how crazy this is, these people aren’t respectful. … [The mayor is] putting us in danger.”
The manager said he’s all for encouraging people to get vaccinated, but he wishes there was more help from City Hall, like security or dedicated workers to ask for vaccination proof.
Officials from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
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