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Suburban Restaurants Could Be Criminally Charged For Defying Governor's Indoor Dining Ban

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Some suburban restaurants could soon be criminally charged for not following the governor's indoor dining ban. Meanwhile, some mayors are drafting more relaxed rules that leave customers and business owners confused.

In Crystal lake some have closed, some have gone to carryout only, and some are seeking shelter from their local city hall to keep the indoor option alive. All of them are hoping hoping the governor's restrictions don't take a crippling bite from their bottom lines.

The clock never stops and neither does the lunch rush at Around The Clock restaurant in Crystal Lake. The sign out front advertises indoor dining despite Gov. JB Pritzker's ban.

Several McHenry County mayors have adopted what they call a more economically friendly approach. Theirs allows masked indoor dining with group size limited to six household members, tables 8 to 10 feet apart and mandatory reservations.

These policy guidelines they say reflect many of the regulations currently in place through the governor's orders.

Among those cities is Woodstock.

"It's impossible for us to do what we think is the best for our community and for our folks," said Mayor Dr. Brian Sager.

Woodstock police are instructed not to enforce the governor's rules, but they are to enforce local ones.

Sager said he does not think that this plan sends a mixed message.

"No, I don't think so at all," he said. "Businesses have to make a choice."

Some have made choices to stay open. In the first week of the statewide ban, 30 received complaints. Some had multiple warnings. Those cases are now in the hands of the McHenry County State's Attorney for potential charges.

"I'm going to say that it's a choice that needs to be made by local businesses," the mayor said.

So if local police don't enforce the governor's rules, who does? In many of these communities in McHenry County and outside Chicago, it is up to the local health departments, the state health department or the Illinois State Police.


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