Police on Thursday found a Crystal Lake tavern in violation of Gov. JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order after an officer observed a group of people seated in the indoor bar area, officials said.
Reached by phone Thursday, Matt's Tavern co-owner John Wean denied having been told by police that any violation occurred.
Employees at Matt's Tavern, 92 Railroad St., were in the process of setting up a tent and finalizing their application for outdoor food service when an officer stopped by Thursday, Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said.
The tavern was approved Thursday for temporary outdoor seating for Phase 3 of Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan. The newest phase, which begins Friday, allows for delivery, pickup and drive-thru business at bars and restaurants. With the city's approval for temporary outdoor seating, customers at businesses like Matt's Tavern, will have the option to enjoy their food outside, with some restrictions.
When the officer checked inside the business Thursday, however, five patrons appeared to be drinking at the bar, Black said.
"The manager was advised that he was in violation and could not open to the public until May 29 and until his outdoor seating has been approved by the city," Black said. "The patrons were asked to leave and we have forwarded the violation to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and to the [McHenry County Department of Public Health]."
Wean said that only employees – none of whom were drinking – were at the business when the officer arrived.
"Police were here and left and there no issues," Wean said.
He further denied allowing customers to dine in during the statewide shutdown.