CHICAGO, IL – Citing a report of an employee testing positive for the coronavirus pandemic, The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection launched an investigation into a popular drinking establishment and has issued a closure order for Cork and Kerry Tavern in Beverly, Ald. Matt O’Shea announced Monday.
The news release did not mention when the employee tested positive. However, the tavern responded Monday afternoon on its Facebook page disputing the facts O’Shea presented.
According to O’Shea, BACP issued a series of citations on Saturday at the Irish pub, which is located at 10614 S. Western Ave., after documenting violations of the Health Department’s coronavirus-related orders. Those citations included violations of employees not wearing masks and the tavern operating outside of permitted business hours.
On Sunday, BACP conducted a follow-up inspection and again witnessed the same violations and again, issued citations, O’Shea (19th Ward) said in a news release. Cork and Kerry had previously received citations for violations of Health Department orders regarding coronavirus-related mandates in June.
Cork and Kerry posted video of a sizable crowd in the pub’s outdoor space after Saturday’s White Sox game on its Facebook page and then issued a long post Monday afternoon that disputed O’Shea’s claims.
The post states:
On July 15th, an employee stated that her father, who works for city of Chicago as a plumber, contracted Covid at work. She and her sister, who also work for us, were going to get tested. Those actions are in line with our safety protocol. The two young ladies self quarantined, as well.
One sister was positive for Covid, and one was negative. Neither had any symptoms. They have not returned to work as of today and we are happy to report they are doing just fine, as is their dad. No other staff member has shown any symptoms nor have any customers.
We went about our daily sanitizing strategy, as we always do. Taking extra precautions, we hired a local company, BioClean to spray a microbial disinfectant at both of our locations. These are costs we didn’t need to incur, but we did. This will be a huge part of our safety plan, going forward, that the city has asked us to provide.
On July 16th our Western Ave. location was visited three times by the city and we were found to be in compliance on all three occasions.
On Friday July 24th, we were visited by the city at 10 p.m. and were again found to be in compliance by the city ordinances. That same night, at 12:30 a.m., we were visited again by city inspectors, and, unfortunately, the new regulations prohibit us from having anyone in the bar after midnight. We were issued a citation (as you can see for yourself below.) It says nothing about any other Covid related issues, only “after hour patron” violations.
The next night, Saturday, July 25 at 12:07 a.m., we were visited again as we were cleaning up with six staff members in the bar. Three unmasked city inspectors walked in and cited us for having people in the bar. No one other than our own staff was present, all in compliance with current city ordinances. The unmasked inspectors wrote up another violation, even though each and every customer had exited for the night.
Phone calls and texts to the ward office since July 16 have not been returned, the post states.
“This is ridiculous,” Bill Guide, who has owned the tavern since 2003, told the Chicago Tribune on Monday, adding that said believes he’s being unfairly targeted. “It’s not right. We’re doing everything we can to abide by these rules that change on a weekly basis.”
Before listing the sequence events, Cork and Kerry management thanked patrons for their support.
“Your support has been unbelievable,” the post said. “We have always tried to put our customers first. We hope that it has showed, and things won’t change.”
Based on this series of violations, O’Shea said, BACP Rosa Escareno issued a business closure order. The business is now required to submit a plan to safely reopen in compliance with all orders issued by the Health Department to the Local Liquor Control Commissioner. Once that plan is received and accepted, the business can legally reopen, O’Shea said in the news release.
According to its website, Cork and Kerry has been in business for more than 30 years and offers 20 beers on tap and more than 40 beers available in bottles and cans. The pub also offers a beer garden with seating for 300.
“The safety of residents is my top priority,” O’Shea said. “It is my hope that this business will soon re-open in a safe and responsible manner.”
This article originally appeared on the Chicago Patch