5 Businesses Fined, Party Boat Shut Down for Violating COVID-19 Restrictions

Visitors to Navy Pier take advantage of blue skies Friday, June 12, 2020. The popular tourist attraction reopened, with restrictions, on Wednesday, June 10. (WTTW News)Visitors to Navy Pier take advantage of blue skies Friday, June 12, 2020. The popular tourist attraction reopened, with restrictions, on Wednesday, June 10. (WTTW News)

City officials fined five businesses and shut down a Lake Michigan party boat for violating rules designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, officials said.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned businesses before the 4th of July holiday weekend that city inspectors would be out in force, and officials on Monday announced they had made good on those threats.

City officials declined to name the businesses that were cited for violating rules designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Each citation comes with a $10,000 fine, according to city ordinance.

A task force formed by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection conducted 49 investigations of bars and restaurants in entertainment districts including River North, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park and Wicker Park, officials said.

“I think they got the message,” Lightfoot said Monday at an unrelated news conference. “By and large, it was a pretty good weekend.”

However, city officials shut down Chicago Lakefront Cruises for “egregiously violating social distancing requirements,” according to a statement from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Owner Lisa Dawson said she posted signs encouraging people to maintain 6 feet of social distance, everyone was encouraged to wear masks and gloves and passengers had to fill out a reservation form that would allow contact tracing if a case of the coronavirus was confirmed.

Dawson said she is working with city officials to resolve the issues.

Lightfoot said she was infuriated by the pictures of “almost 100 people crammed into the top deck” of the Chicago Lakefront Cruises boat.

“That was unbelievably irresponsible and there is going to have to be consequences for them,” Lightfoot said. “They had no pretense of social distancing. It is outrageous. You can be sure I let off a few colorful words at the stupidity of this boat.”

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]


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