CHICAGO (CBS) — Irresponsible outrageous and stupidity.

Those are three of the words Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot used to describe a crowded boat cruise in Chicago this weekend. She promised there would be consequences. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has more.

It’s a message the mayor spoke forcefully about Monday. Boats were cited for not practicing safe social distancing.

“You can be sure I let out a few colorful words for them, the stupidity of this boat,” said Lightfoot.

After warning Chicago businesses last week that more strict enforcement of social distancing requirements was coming, city officials said they issued 10 citations to five businesses over the Independence Day weekend — each with a fine of up to $10,000 — and shut down a lakefront cruise operation for “blatantly ignoring the reopening requirements.”

“There were people without masks, we would tell them to put on their masks, then they would turn around and take them off,” said Captain Rick Dawson of Lakefront Cruises. “But then we’d tell them you have to sit down and we have to go back to the dock if you don’t cooperate.”

“They had no pretense of social distancing. Everyone on the boat was crammed into the top deck,” Lightfoot said. “They chose to do something that put everyone on that boat at risk.”

“I understand she has a lot on her plate. It’s a big city and there’s a lot going on,” Dawson. “And the last thing she needs is a boat that’s not complying.”

Chicago Lakefront Cruises’ two citations are for failure to comply with social distancing rules. They carry possible fines up to $10,000 each.  Operators said they are working with the city so they can better understand the guidelines.

There are two kinds of policing with the boats. One is the responsibility of the city. And the other is the responsibility of a business operator, some who said they are still feeling their way through COVID-19 ordinances.


Vince Gerasole