HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (CBS) — Keeping kids cooped up is no easy task.

Add to that an enticement – one that is not only unsafe, but illegal.

This is what happened when one dad, a CBS 2 journalist, spotted one ice cream man who was not playing by the rules.

That iconic music-box rendition of “Turkey in the Straw,” screams, “We all scream for ice cream!”

But during a pandemic, social distance is the rule. Getting close to the ice cream man could also mean getting something else.

It’s a fact of life.

Yet Mr. Freeze – not his name – was right there in his truck of treats, unmasked and ungloved as he took cash for cones in the northwest suburbs Wednesday afternoon.

That was when CBS 2 Assignment Editor Greg Kelly, a father of two, got on his bike and said, “Wait a minute!”

“Do you think it’s a good idea to be doing this with the stay at home order? COVID-19,” Kelly said.

Eventually, Kelly got a bit closer and tried to get answers from Mr. Freeze, not his name.

“Why aren’t you wearing a mask?” Kelly asked.

“Why are you trying to take ice cream out of the hands of children? Are you sick? I’m not sick either. Why are they quarantining healthy people?” the ice cream truck operator said. “There’s not any law.”

There is a law.

“At this time, face coverings are required in public situations where social distancing cannot be maintained,” Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday.

“I have a permit,” said the ice cream guy.

Kelly pointed out that the permit would have come before the stay-at-home order.

“I can’t understand what you’re saying. Back up and remove the mask,” the ice cream truck operator said.

“I’m not removing the mask,” Kelly said.

And the ice cream guy drove off.

All of this happened in Hoffman Estates, where we learned ice cream trucks are banned and have been for years.

The Hoffman Estates village manager said if you see the ice cream man there, call 911.

Editor’s Note: CBS 2 reported this story because we recognize there is confusion in the community about non-essential business – but especially because children were involved.  Kids are more likely not to know of the potential dangers of the coronavirus.  We are in a pandemic hotspot. Unfortunately during this time, when someone is selling food specifically to children, it’s a story.  We all want to have ice cream and there are safe ways to purchase it.  Having children buy it on the street without protective gear and social distancing is worthy of reporting because health care professionals have been clear: it’s not safe right now.

 

Brad Edwards