Cook County health officials investigating after hundreds attend wedding at suburban hotel

Coronavirus

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Ill. — Hundreds of people attended a wedding at a suburban hotel in violation of Illinois “Tier 3” COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Video and still photos from inside the event Wednesday night captured the massive gathering at the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook Hotel, located at 2855 Milwaukee Ave. Most people were not wearing masks and not social distancing.

Under Illinois’ mandate, gatherings are limited to 10 people and banquet halls are supposed to be closed.

While the hotel has the Hilton name, it is independently owned and operated.

On Thursday afternoon, the hotel issued a statement and said they regret hosting the wedding.

“Last evening, the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook hosted a family wedding with approximately 150 people in attendance. While the event was booked prior to the implementation of the state’s latest mitigation measures, we sincerely regret allowing this gathering to proceed and our family apologizes to our guests, employees, and the Chicagoland community.

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.

We are committed to working with state and local health authorities to ensure our hotel is abiding by all safety measures and mitigation guidelines. We immediately reviewed our bookings to ensure any business that is inconsistent with the state’s guidelines are not held at this property, and we are committed to following contact tracing and testing protocols recommended by health officials.

It will take time, but we hope to rebuild the trust of our guests, staff and community have placed in us for so many years,” said Holly Allgauer-Cir, General Manager, Hilton Chicago/Northbrook.

The wedding was on the same day Illinois announced its greatest number of COVID-19 deaths in a 24-hour period. Though it didn’t account for the lag time over the long holiday weekend, still reported it 238 lives lost — and that is a sobering number.

So far, Gov. JB Pritzker’s office has not commented specifically on the gathering, or what repercussions the hotel could face for allowing the wedding to take place.

It’s events like these that public health officials have warned could be super spreader events.

The Cook County Department of Health released the following statement regarding the wedding:

“We are appalled that this event was allowed to proceed. We are considering citing the hotel and are investigating our legal options today.”

Rachel Rubin, MD, MPH, FACP, Senior Medical Officer and Co-Lead Kiran Joshi, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Officer and Co-Lead, Cook County Department of Public Health

No comment yet from the Prospect Heights Department, nor from any elected leaders.

The hotel has a Northbrook zip code, but is located in Prospect Heights.

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