WATERLOO, Ill. – A controversial concert is planned for an area where indoor dining is banned. It’s a restaurant known for defying Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker’s orders and, thus far, getting away with it.
Washy’s Saloon in Waterloo, Illinois defies orders to close down inside, even after the Illinois State Police came by and took the case to prosecutors. The Monroe County prosecutor declined the case.
Now, Washy’s is planning a show Dec. 19 with Platinum Rock Legends, a band so popular it says its crowds cannot be controlled.
The band offers no apologies.
“I’m not sure it makes sense to say the numbers are going up – it must be because of that crowd,” said band founder Will Lackey, aka Drake Darrington. “It doesn’t make sense to me, either. Where the numbers are spiking don’t necessarily seem to correlate where crowds are gathering.”
Defiant restaurants have often used the same arguments, saying ‘Why are we the cause?’
And in Monroe County, where Washy’s remains defiant, they’re backed by John Wagner’s health department.
“Going out, going anywhere, increases your chances of catching this virus,” Wagner said.
Wagner says his office is not going after restaurants and bars because he says contact tracing is not showing they are to blame.
“We definitely have people saying the only places they’ve been 14 days prior to symptoms is a grocery store or maybe a gas station,” he said. “Usually, the people that have been at bars and restaurants, they’ve been at bars and restaurants and grocery stores and gas stations.”
His office is enforcing social distancing and mask wearing. And he was alarmed when we told him about Washy’s planned concert.
“I would advise not having something that would pack a place like we saw in St. Charles on the news,” he said.
Wagner says a similar scene in Monroe County would be a violation of social distancing and mask wearing mandates, which, he says, “are enforceable by state and local police.”
FOX 2 called and messaged Washy’s repeatedly since Oct. to talk about their defiance.
The owner responded Wednesday night: “I appreciate you reaching out to us to comment on various stories over the past few months. However, I don’t wish to comment on any news stories as I feel that it would not be prudent, given the current political climate.”
We’ll have to wait and see whether the Dec. 19 concert rivals the one in St. Charles County and whether or not state police intervene.