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'Some People Are Just Fed Up': Tempers Flare At Chicago Restaurants As Customers Told To Wear Masks, Show Vax Card

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two restaurant outbursts in just the last 24 hours in Chicago, both rooted in angry customers upset with COVID-19 rules.

CBS 2's Chris Tye reports from a River North McDonalds where nerves are more frayed, according to experts, more than at any time in the pandemic.

Fast food, quick tempers and a hasty race to get to the end of the COVID pandemic. From the golden arches to the Wiener's Circle, there are flare ups in a frequency not seen before in the pandemic.

"Some people are just fed up, I guess."

The heat Wednesday night at the Wiener Circle came from the other side of the glass. A customer caught on tape was told no mask, no service.

He said a couple words, walked out the door, came back in threw a couple of snowballs behind the counter," said Weiner Circle general manager Evelyn Morris who called 911.

As they waited for police..

("He) found some type of brick and that's when he just swung it into the door," Morris said.

There has been sort of an uptick in very aggressive anti-public health sentiment. And it does seem to have escalated in the midst of Omicron."

In the same few minutes CBS 2 interviewed Professor Marney White of the Yale School of Public Health on Wednesday, a customer at a River North McDonalds threw a chair at security guard, injuring them while trying to enforce their proof of vaccination rules.

"People are tired and I think of this as combat fatigue, really."

She said in the 24th month of the 1918 Spanish Flu, a similar fatigue kicked in.

"Yes, I think so. I think that when people perceive that the end is near, they're ready to get going. I think everyone wants to return to normal," White said.

"Normal" at the Wiener's Circle is often combative. Jabs at customers, snarky signs, a wall of shame. Part of a recipe residents are quick to defend and embrace.

"I do think that many people have determined that their personal risk is over and so therefore they are ready to jump to the end," added White.

One person was arrested at this McDonald's. No arrests from the Wiener's Circle incident. Dr. White compared this window to when drunk driving laws and smoking laws or car seat laws were enacted.

There were different perceptions of how important these changes were. More reluctance meant more pushback in the past leading to violence.


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