A Hilton hotel in the Chicago suburbs could face charges after it threw a 150-person, indoor wedding in flagrant violation of COVID-19 restrictions, reports said.
The Hilton Chicago/Northbrook, about 25 miles northwest of Downtown Chicago, threw the bash Wednesday evening even though weddings are not allowed under Illinois’s current “tier 3” restriction measures, ABC News reported.
“This event should not have happened,” Dr. Rachel Rubin, the senior medical officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health, railed during a Thursday news conference.
“It’s put a lot of individuals in danger.”
Don Bolger, a spokesperson for the health department, told the outlet the hotel could face charges following a probe of the incident.
Under the state’s current mitigation measures that went into effect on Nov. 20, banquet centers, private party rooms, meeting rooms and other venues are banned from hosting weddings, and indoor gatherings of more than one household are also prohibited.
The decision to revert back to springtime lockdown measures came amid a troubling surge of cases in the Prairie State — on the day the wedding was held, 238 deaths were reported with nearly 10,000 new or probable cases, the outlet reported.
On Thursday, another 192 people died from the virus and about 11,000 cases were reported.
“It’s very irresponsible, and it’s also irresponsible of the hotel to host an event like that,” said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker during his Thursday press briefing, adding there was a lack of social distancing at the wedding.
“They too have breached the rules and they should be held responsible.”
The governor added he was “deeply concerned” about the health of the wedding’s attendees and urged anyone who went to quarantine and get COVID-19 tests.
A spokesperson for the hotel said in a statement the wedding was booked prior to the new restrictions and they “sincerely regret” allowing the party to happen.
“The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the hospitality industry and our family-owned business. However, our hope to keep the hotel afloat and employees working should not outweigh health and safety,” Holly Allgauer-Cir, the hotel’s general manager, told the outlet in a statement.
“We are committed to working with state and local health authorities to ensure our hotel is abiding by all safety measures and mitigation guidelines.”
The general manager said the hotel is complying with testing and contact tracing recommendations while also ensuring any upcoming bookings that aren’t consistent with state restrictions won’t be held.
The Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association slammed the hotel’s decision, calling it “unacceptable.”