Restaurants warned of indoor dining crackdown; attorney calls it empty threat

FOX Files

ILLINOIS – A Metro East restaurant described a phone call from Illinois State Police warning they’re coming soon. He said they told him he’d faced “significant fines” if the restaurant is not closed inside.

Illinois State Police confirmed to Fox2 they are issuing Class A misdemeanor complaints with potential fines up to $2500.

A spokeswoman of ISP said the fines would be determined by a court.

She added the Division of Criminal Investigation has received about 126 complaints that they’re looking into statewide.

However, according to an attorney who’s representing hundreds of Illinois businesses, police have no authority to tell a restaurant they cannot have indoor dining.

Attorney Tom DeVore, an attorney with the Silver Lake Group said “There is no statutory section in Illinois law that says you cannot have indoor dining. It’s that simple. I assure you with 100 percent certainty the state police knows that.”

DeVore joined us via Zoom to explain how Illinois law is specific on what restaurants can be cited for.

He pointed to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Emergency Amendment Section 690.50 which allows citations related to two issues – “wearing of coverings” and “gatherings of more than 50 people.”

DeVore added, “It has nothing to do with indoor dining.” He continued, “State police tried it twice Chris. They tried it in Bond County and they tried it in Monroe County. The court threw it out and in Bond County, the state’s attorney didn’t even enter it into the system because they said there is no violation of the Department of Health rule for indoor dining.”

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