A north suburban hotel that hosted a large indoor wedding reception received multiple "COVID-19 mitigation citations" for allowing the event, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.
The department said Friday that the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook, as well as the onsite Allguaer’s on the Riverfront restaurant received the following "notices of violation":
· A Facility Order to Disperse, for Non-Compliance with 2020-01 Cook County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Mitigation Order, based on observed violations made Thursday, December 3, 2020 by CCDPH during the course of an inspection, as well as based on observed violations identified in the media video captured the evening of Wednesday, December 2, 2020; and
· A Facility Notice of Non-Compliance, for Non-Compliance with COVID-19 Regulations from the Illinois Department of Public Health (77 Ill. Admin. Code 690.50), based on observed violations made Thursday, December 3, 2020 by CCDPH during the course of an inspection, as well as based on observed violations identified in the media video captured the evening of Wednesday, December 2, 2020.
“The hotel, restaurant, bride, groom, caterer and guests were all reckless and irresponsible. This event was in violation of the current COVID-19 Mitigation order and should not have taken place,” Cook County Health Department Co-Lead and Senior Medical Officer Rachel Rubin said in a statement. “I sincerely hope no one becomes sick or dies as a result of this event. All who were in attendance should quarantine for a minimum of 10 days and get tested to keep from spreading COVID to the greater community.”
Rubin said Thursday an investigation was underway at the hotel to determine if other events took place recently and to obtain a guest list from the wedding, which took place Wednesday night at the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook, located at 2855 Milwaukee Ave. in Prospect Heights.
The violation notices serve as a "warning."
"CCDPH will closely monitor the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook hotel and onsite Allgauer’s on the Riverfront restaurant. Additional reports of non-compliance could result in further actions being taken," the department stated.
Rubin said the newlyweds and attendees won't be cited for the event because "we don't cite individuals for their behavior."
"This event should not have happened," Rubin said. "It's put a lot of individuals in danger. I don't even know where to begin. This is the kind of thing that we've been trying to avoid and educate the community about since day one."
Video taken from outside the hotel showed the bride and groom entering a luxury car for what appeared to be a send-off from the reception as a large crowd gathered nearby, waving to the couple, with few members of the group wearing masks and no social distancing in place.
A spokesperson for Hilton said in a statement that the hotel is independently operated but the company was "shocked" by the event and contacted its ownership.
“The safety and wellbeing of our guests and Team Members has always been and remains our top priority," the statement from Hilton reads. "We were shocked to learn that one of our independently owned and operated hotels chose to host an event that disregarded both local regulations and Hilton's brand standards. We immediately connected with the hotel’s ownership to understand the facts and are now addressing our expectations with them directly."
"Hilton prides itself on having industry-leading cleaning and event protocols to protect our guests and Team Members during the COVID-19 pandemic. This incident is not representative of our portfolio of hotels and the extraordinary levels of hospitality offered by our hard-working Team Members every day," the spokesperson added.
The owners of the hotel did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Health officials urged anyone who attended the event to quarantine, saying "there are going to be at least a few people at that wedding who were COVID positive and didn't realize it."
"People weren't wearing masks and were crowded together," Rubin said, noting the reception posed a "significant risk" and could become a super spreader event.