Five Chicago restaurants were temporarily closed for violating the city's phase four guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
The department said it "conducted research into advertised parties" and used a task force with the Department of Buildings, Chicago Fire Department and Chicago police officers to investigate.
According to BACP, the task force conducted 38 investigations over the weekend, eight of which were at residential locations while another five resulted in the temporary closure of five city restaurants.
Barba Yianni in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood was closed and given two citations for operating over capacity indoors, with more than 80 people reported, operating after midnight, social distancing violations and a lack of face coverings, BACP said. The citations could lead to fines of up to $20,000, but the exact amount will be determined when the case is tried at the Department of Administrative Hearings, according to Isaac Reichman with BACP.
The restaurant's owner, Anas Ihmoud, said he is unsure if he will be able to pay the fines, noting that he behind on other payments due to the pandemic. He also said his staff wears masks but declined to comment on the crowd Saturday.
Retro Cafe in the 3200 block of North Central Avenue was cited for operating after midnight, social distancing violations and a lack of face coverings.
The cafe's owner, Matthew Gancarz, argued that he and some tenants who live above the restaurant were outside having drinks due to a power outage at the building, but said the restaurant was closed at the time of the citations.
"I'm very pissed off," Gancarz told NBC 5.
Similarly, Juanita's Restaurant on the Southwest Side was also cited for the same violations.
Estrella Blanca Nightclub in the Kelvin Park neighborhood was cited for allowing people to drink alcohol inside without a food license and a lack of face coverings.
Second Time Around, located in the 8300 block of West Irving Park, was cited for operating after midnight.
The restaurants could not immediately be reached for comment, but BACP reports the closures lasted for one night.