ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Winnebago County Health Department is taking enforcement action against some locally owned businesses for continued defiance of Gov. JB Pritzker’s latest Region 1 COVID-19 restrictions.

On Wednesday, Neighbor’s Bar and Grill, Fozzy’s Bar and Grill, and Doc’s Diner were all given Order of Closures by the WCHD.

Health officials say that “a reasonable belief exists that the premises identified in this Order has engaged or is suspected of engaging in a significant amount of activity likely to spread the following dangerously contagious or infectious disease: COVID-19.”

Fozzy’s Bar and Grill owner Nick Fosberg shared our story, reiterating he has no plans to close.

Rascal’s Bar & Grill, R.B.I.’s, and Waffle Shop have also been issued a “Notice to Disperse,” the second punitive step in a three-part process which could result in a closure order and the loss of a business license.

The new mitigation efforts went into effect on Saturday, October 3rd, and call for the closure of indoor dining services at bars and restaurants.

Last week, Attorney Thomas DeVore, Managing Attorney of Silver Lake Group, Ltd., sent a cease and desist letter to the Health Department Director Dr. Sandra Martell on behalf of several local bar and restaurant owners, claiming intimidation tactics in the enforcement of the latest mitigation orders.

DeVore met with more than 100 local small business owners at Giovanni’s on October 1st, at an informational meeting about the legality of the latest restrictions levied at Illinois’ Region 1, after the COVID-19 testing positivity rate shot above a set 8% threshold.

Nearly 30 local restaurants and bars have received first-step non-compliance notices from the Winnebago County Health Department.


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