Rogers Diner in Pekin shuts down, accuses Tazewell County Health Department of harassment

Local News

PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — The owner of Rogers Diner in Pekin claims his business was singled out by the Tazewell County Health Department.

“Literally a harassing amount of contact from the health department. First, it was a call then it was several visits by people who worked for the health department,” Nick Rogers, owner of Rogers Diner, said.

Rogers said his diner went from making $1,500 a day to less than $100a day.

Rogers admits he continued indoor dining despite the state’s guidelines, so he wouldn’t lose his diner. But his efforts weren’t enough.

“Carryout is just not sustainable. It just not sustainable for businesses that are diners,” he said.

On Dec. 7 Rogers said he laid off 30 employees and closed his doors to the public. Rogers said he thinks his business was harassed because it was only open for about two months.

“It looked very picky-choosey, ‘You know, this business has been in business for 20 years and I know them and so I am friends with them, so we are going to let them stay open, but this business is new so we are going to really bring it to him,'” he said, describing his opinion on the health department.

Fighting to keep his business running, he said he got two letters, numerous calls, Facebook messages, and visits from the health department.

He told WMBD he felt his choices were to shut down willingly or pay more than $2,000 and be forced to close.

“Stewart Umholtz didn’t come and say whether he would or would not prosecute cases like that. And even though he hasn’t, it doesn’t mean he won’t and we couldn’t risk a $2,500 fine being a new business,” he said.

Rogers said he understands the health department has a job to do, but wants it to be aggressive and enforce the rules with all non-compliant businesses.

WMBD reached out to the Tazewell County Health Department, but they haven’t responded.

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