Bloomington bar in danger of losing liquor license

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Cadillac Jack’s, a popular bar-restaurant in Bloomington is in danger of losing its liquor license. The business was cited several times for not complying with the city’s COVID-19 guidelines.

This past weekend, Cadillac Jack’s was given four citations by Bloomington Police officers for not requiring people on the property to wear masks. The penalty can range from a fine to even losing a liquor license, but the owner said any infraction will be a detriment, especially for a business that’s had its share of struggles due to the pandemic.

Labor Day weekend was the first of many weekends to come where Bloomington officers went around to bars and restaurants checking to see if they were complying with COVID-19 guidelines.

“They are supposed to be cops on steroids,” said Mayor Tari Renner. “What we need right now is aggressive enforcement, given the spiking that we have had in our community.”

Bloomington Police Department (BPD) found three places that weren’t complying and cited them.

“It’s too late to continue playing mister nice guy. If you’re not going to respect the situation that we have, and the guidelines and the law, then I’m going to hold you accountable,” said Renner. “I may yank your liquor license. We are at the point where, no more mister nice guy frankly.”

One of them was Cadillac Jack’s, who was cited numerous times for employees and customers not wearing masks. The restaurant was eventually told by officers to kick everyone off of the premises. The owner, William Bentley, said one of the citations given to him on Sunday states, “Several people not wearing a mask had beverages in front of them but were not consuming them.”

Bentley said in a letter he received from the city, the rules for patrons state “Patrons should wear face coverings, except while eating or drinking at a table.”

After receiving the fourth citation, Bentley was told he must go to the city’s liquor commission on Thursday and prove why he should be able to keep the liquor license.

“The last thing in the world I want is to do anything that would harm our commerce, but this is a public health pandemic,” said Renner. “We’ve got to understand, we are now one of the largest metro areas in terms of percentage increase in COVID, I have to act decisively, I’ve got to do what I can do to protect the public interest.”

Renner said his goal is not to make an example out of Cadillac Jack’s but said with McLean County being put in the warning zone just four days ago, things have to change and fast.

In total, BPD conducted 50 checks in restaurants and bars over the weekend, but Renner said this is just the start.

He wouldn’t give a definitive date, but he said businesses can expect these checks for the foreseeable future.

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