Coronavirus: Chicago liquor sales curfew in effect across city

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Liquor sales in Chicago are no longer allowed after 9 p.m. per a curfew put into effect by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The order will remain in effect for the duration of the state's stay-at-home order.

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Liquor stores on the West Side are what police call a hot spot for hangouts. Officials are worried about crowds congregating on city sidewalks and unlawfully loitering, particularly outside liquor stores, which prompted Lightfoot's order.

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The city gave the stores more than 24 hours warning. Violating the curfew means risking a fine, arrest, or even revocation of liquor and other licenses.

"If you don't want to cooperate with the mayor, and the staff, and the police, you deserve to revoke your license," said Raed Bishar, liquor store owner.

Police hope warnings will help them avoid that kind of escalation.

"If they fail, we'll start issuing citations. The last thing we want to do is arrest someone for not complying with the order," said 11th District Commander Darrell Spencer.

But they will if they have to.

Wednesday alone, Chicago police said they arrested a dozen people for refusing to disperse or comply with six-foot social distancing orders, mostly on the West Side.

"In this situation we're not talking about profit," Bishar said. "We're talking about life and people. Community."

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Twenty-one citations have been issued against eight businesses violating the state mandate.

"To date these fines in total have now reached $120,000 and we will collect them," Lightfoot said.

Chicago Police Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck said officers have also broken up more than 2,000 groups during the stay-at-home order, peaking Tuesday night with 300 dispersals.

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"Nothing is more important than making sure Chicago families are safe and healthy," said Beck. "Liquor stores across the city have already partnered with us to adjust hours and today's order will allow us to expand citywide to further protect Chicagoans from the spread of COVID-19."

The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a hotline at 1-800-889-3931. More information can be found at the IDPH website and the Chicago Department of Public Health website.
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