CHICAGO (CBS) — A chain and padlock now block the entrance to the Raffaello Hotel in Streeterville, as it is shut down during the pandemic.
But for the restaurant connected to that hotel, the owner told CBS 2’s Jermont Terry the locked door is a safety issue and more.READ MORE: 5 Killed, 18 Wounded In Chicago Weekend Shootings
At Pelago Ristorante, 209 E. Delaware Pl., the tables are set and reservations are coming in again for indoor dining.
“You know couple of weeks ago we went back to open at 25 percent, everyone was pretty happy,” said owner Mauro Mafrici. “We brought back employees.”
Yet when the doors to the restaurant opened, there is one door that Mafrici could not walk through. That would be that hotel door with the padlock on it.
“It’s important for safety, but this is my main entrance for disability and handicapped door,” Mafrici said.
The restaurant is connected to the Raffaello Hotel, and the doors being closed is a problem for the restaurant.
“The people, when they go out the door, they must go to the bathroom,” Mafrici said.
That’s right – the restaurant’s restrooms are in the hotel lobby. So despite the hotel being closed, Mafrici’s customers utilize that area – including that door with the padlock.
“When it’s people in the building, it’s not supposed to be chained,” Mafrici said.
That is what a personal inspector put in writing. And when Mafrici called a Chicago Fire Department inspector, he learned the doors are supposed to remain open during business hours.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Colder And Blustery Sunday Night
“They’re supposed to put security – anything they want – but not leave it like that,” Mafrici said.
So as it stands, every day at 5 p.m., the hotel takes the chain and padlock off the doors so they can open. Mafrici mentioned it is his handicapped entrance to the restaurant – and even though the chains and padlock are off the doors for four hours, he says that isn’t enough.
“The moment we come to work, they’re supposed to be open,” he said. “This should be the solution, or they need to figure out something else.”
The restaurant has a separate narrow entrance walkway, and the hotel told CBS 2 the padlocked doors have no impact on the restaurant:
“The hotel Raffaello is currently closed. This has no impact on the operations for the Restaurant Pelago, which is owned and operated independently from the hotel. The hotel is hoping to be able to re-open again in the summer. We looking forward to welcoming our guests back.”
The general manager of the hotel said doors will stay as they are until the hotel reopens.
Until then, Mafrici worries about his elderly customers.
“And some people with the wheelchair – I’m concerned about that one person with or without chair can come into the restaurant,” he said.
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