A Chicago jazz club and restaurant may reopen during Coronavirus against the state’s mandates, and compared the right to remain open to the fight for a woman’s right to chose.
Le Piano owner Chad Willetts was quoted comparing the two kinds of regulations in a Facebook post by the restaurant on Tuesday. The post read: “Willetts adds a parallel analogy, ‘A woman’s essential right to choose grants a personal responsibility that affords a basic and dignified format upon which she determines what is, in fact, essential to her, without fearing judgment and criticism.'”
It continued. “Within the compliances of established law, and in this reference, the people’s right to choose should be equally relevant and deemed essential to them, to visit a bar, a restaurant, a jazz club, comparatively.”
Le Piano offers musical experiences as well as dining opportunities. The business, which resides in Roger’s Park, a part of Chicago north of downtown, is currently closed in accordance with Governor Jay Pritzker’s COVID guidelines. That may change on November 20, though, the second anniversary of Le Piano’s opening.
“Le Piano is complying for one more week, and then contemplating defying the mitigations and plans to reopen for our second anniversary on November 20th,” the first line of the post explained. The rest of the post championed the arts as essential to some people, especially in tumultuous times.
“Who gets to determine what is essential? Here is where #PeoplesRightToChoose comes into the conversation. Art and music are essential to me,” the post read. “Being able to conduct business within the compliances of law, is essential to me. What is essential to one may not be essential to another.”
Other parts of the note insisted that the business required masks even before the mask mandate in Chicago. One commenter shared a photo of Le Piano’s early “masks” and claimed they were pieces of wax paper. A photo of the masks, which were also sold locally, was shared on the jazz club’s Instagram.
Despite airing their cautionary decisions, commenters weren’t thrilled with the restaurant’s message. Because of the statement, some Chicagoans revealed they’d no longer support the local business.
“Sorry. I can’t support anyone who uses the arts or artists as a tool to endanger and harm our community,” wrote Jessica Neill in a comment that gained 30 likes. “Your lack of empathy and care for our neighborhood is not a good look. I say this as an artist who has been out of work since March.”
Others pointed to the comparison to women’s reproductive rights. ” I STRONGLY QUESTION your ‘parallel analogy’ to a woman’s choice regarding her body. But then, I usually question men when they use women’s bodies as tools to further their own agendas and self-interests…” commented Kate Black-Spence. “And does your catchy right-to-choose concept apply to the workers in the kitchen, on the floor and the musicians you employ? How does choice look when power dynamics are at play by an employer?”
Newsweek reached out to Le Piano in an attempt to contact owner Willetts for further comment and will update this post upon receipt accordingly.