The mayor of a small city in Illinois admitted on Monday that police had busted his wife at a bar just days after he had ordered citizens to stay home and watch their children.
“These are very serious times and I’m begging you to please stay at home,” Alton Mayor Brant Walker said on Saturday. “Parents, please keep your kids at home, doing so is vital to our health.”
On Monday, Walker said officers had found his wife, Shannon Walker, at a downtown bar at around 1 a.m. the previous morning. Hiram’s Tavern was operating in defiance of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide lockdown meant to contain the spreading coronavirus.
Walker promised to show his wife no mercy.
“My wife is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and in this instance she exhibited a stunning lack of judgement,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook. “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 added: “I am embarrassed by this incident and apologize to the citizens of Alton for any embarrassment this incident may cause our City.”
Police issued citations to Sharron Walker and several other bar patrons. They arrested bar owner Hiram Lewis on an outstanding warrant. According to Madison County court records, he faces a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery with bodily harm related to a February incident.
Police Chief Jason Simmons told The Telegraph, the local newspaper, his department had received a number of tips that Hiram’s was illegally opening on the weekends.
Alton is a city of some 26,000 people, located about 20 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri.
At least 316 million people in at least 42 U.S. states, three counties, nine cities, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are under stay-at-home orders, The New York Times reported. The economy has been devastated.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed 11,851 people in the United States from among nearly nearly 380,000 confirmed cases, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.
- Mayor Brant Walker of Alton, Illinois.: Screen grab