ALTON, Ill. — The wife of Alton’s mayor is accused of not following the state’s stay-at-home order.
Mayor Brant Walker released a statement on Facebook Monday afternoon regarding what happened this weekend.
Mayor Walker said the Alton police chief reached out to him at about 1 a.m. Sunday. He said police were investigating and stopping a gathering at a downtown Alton bar that was in violation of Illinois’ stay-at-home order.
Walker also said he learned his wife was among the people at the busted party.
“My wife is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and in this instance, she exhibited a stunning lack of judgment,” Mayor Walker wrote in his statement.
The mayor said he instructed the police chief to treat his wife as he would any other citizen violating the state’s order.
“She now faces the same consequences for her ill-advised decision as the other individuals who chose to violate the ‘Stay At Home’ order during this incident,” Walker said.
The Alton Police Department confirmed with 5 On Your Side they investigated several complaints that Hiram's Tavern was continuing to open its doors on the weekends despite the statewide order.
On Sunday, police said they saw several people inside the bar "clearly disregarding the executive order and public pleas for compliance," police said.
Everyone inside Hiram's Tavern was given a criminal complaint for reckless conduct, which is a Class A misdemeanor charge.
Also, the bar's owner, Hiram Lewis, had an active warrant for his arrest in Madison County for domestic battery, police said. Officers took him into custody.
Mayor Walker said he was “embarrassed” by the incident and offered an apology for Alton residents.
“My first and most important priority is the safety and well-being of the citizens of Alton. We are in the midst of a national public health crisis, and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that your health is protected, including enforcing the Governor's statewide ‘Stay At Home’ order,” he said.
Alton Police Chief Jason Simmons clarified his officers will not pull over drivers just for being out. But his department will continue to enforce Illinois laws to protect the community.
"If members of our community will not protect each other, and will be so brazen as to gather in public places, we will be forced to take action like we did this weekend without hesitation. On the other side of this issue, if you are obeying Illinois laws while traveling for essential purposes, you will not be stopped," Chief Simmons said.
Madison County reported 52 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday afternoon. Illinois as a whole reported an additional 1,006 cases Monday. There are now 12,262 COVID-19 cases in the state and 307 deaths attributed to the virus.
You can read the full statement from Mayor Walker below.
Today, Mayor Brant Walker issued the following statement concerning a social gathering that occurred on Sunday in violation of the Governor's statewide "Stay At Home" order:
On Friday, due to the continued increase in cases of COVID-19 in Madison County, as well as increased reports of large gatherings, particularly in some of our city parks, I directed the Alton Police Department to more strictly enforce the Governor's statewide "Stay At Home" order through the use of citations.
The Governor's order states that "All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for limited purposes permitted by this Executive Order."
Walking and other exercise, as well as travel for essential needs, are permitted by the order as long as citizens adhere to CDC guidelines on social distancing.
At approximately 1am on Sunday morning, I was informed by the Police Chief that the Alton Police Department was investigating and stopping a social gathering in downtown Alton that was occurring in violation of the provisions of the statewide "Stay At Home" order.
I was also made aware that my wife was in attendance at this prohibited social gathering. I instructed the Police Chief to treat her as he would any citizen violating the "Stay At Home" order and to ensure that she received no special treatment.
My wife is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and in this instance she exhibited a stunning lack of judgement. She now faces the same consequences for her ill-advised decision as the other individuals who chose to violate the "Stay At Home" order during this incident.
I am embarrassed by this incident and apologize to the citizens of Alton for any embarrassment this incident may cause our City.
My first and most important priority is the safety and well-being of the citizens of Alton. We are in the midst of a national public health crisis, and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that your health is protected, including enforcing the Governor's statewide "Stay At Home" order.
The overwhelming majority of our citizens and businesses are observing the restrictions of the "Stay At Home" order, and for that I am truly grateful. We must all do our part to flatten the curve of COVID-19 so that we can protect our health and ultimately resume our normal activities.
Furthermore, I encourage everyone to join me in thanking the members of our Police and Fire Departments who continue to work every day to protect us during this public health crisis.
I have never been more optimistic about Alton's future, and by working together to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we will emerge from this public health crisis stronger and more vibrant than ever.