A bar on the brink

Opinion: Editorials

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In a moment when the COVID-19 virus is taking full advantage of Americans' illogic and lack of restraint, it is good to see the mayor of Forest Park take seriously state guidelines on how to serve alcohol in bars in Illinois. And good to see Mayor Rory Hoskins drop the hammer on Lantern Haus, a Madison Street bar that does not seem to have gotten the governor's memo or to be concerned by the flurry of warnings and citations issued by Forest Park police for overcrowding, lack of masking, or after-hours sales of liquor, and, almost infamously now, having a bartender declare to the cops, "I have lost control of the bar" — because the bartender was drunk.

It is dubious to us that, in the midst of a pandemic, bars are open at all for indoor service. Nationwide it has become clear that young people with a thirst for alcohol and companionship do not have the sense God gave geese. Bars are hot spots for COVID.

A liquor license is a privilege granted by a town with a full set of limits and responsibilities. Those limits and responsibilities escalate in a pandemic. Follow the rules or get shut down. The village's liquor license hearing will be convened shortly; the initial closure for seven days may be ended early or it may be extended.

We've got no sympathy for bar owners who can't maintain control of their establishments. Better that one bar in Forest Park gets punished than that every bar in town faces being shuttered by the state as COVID makes its comeback.

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