A Chicago jazz club and restaurant could be reopened during the coronavirus against the mandates of the state and compare the right to remain open with the fight for women’s right to free choice.
The owner of Le Piano, Chad Willetts, was quoted in a Facebook post from the restaurant on Tuesday as comparing the two types of regulations. The post read: “Willetts adds a parallel analogy: ‘A woman’s essential right to choose grants her a personal responsibility that provides her with a basic and dignified format on the basis of which she determines what is actually essential for her without fear of judgment or criticism.
She continued. “Within the provisions of applicable law and in this reference, the right of people to choose whether to visit a bar, restaurant or jazz club should be equally relevant to them and should be considered essential.
Le Piano offers both musical experiences and opportunities for dining. The store, located in Roger’s Park, a part of Chicago north of downtown, is currently closed under Governor Jay Pritzker’s COVID policy. However, this could change on November 20, the second anniversary of the opening of Le Piano.
“Le Piano will adhere to the guidelines for another week and then consider resisting the slowdowns and reopening on our second anniversary on November 20,” the first line of the item explained. The rest of the post argued that the arts are essential for some people, especially in turbulent times.
“Who may determine what is essential? This is where #PeoplesRightToChoose comes in. Art and music are essential for me,” the article said. “It is essential for me to be able to conduct my business in compliance with the law. What is essential for one person, cannot be essential for another.”
Other parts of the note insisted that the business required masks even before the mask mandate in Chicago. One commentator shared a photograph of Le Piano’s early “masks” and claimed they were pieces of waxed paper. A photograph of the masks, which were also sold locally, was published on the Instagram of the Jazz Club.
Although they radiated their cautious decisions, the commentators were not very enthusiastic about the restaurant’s message. Because of the explanation, some Chicagoans announced that they would no longer support the local business.
“Excuse me. 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 found 30 supporters. “Your lack of empathy and care for our neighborhood does not look good. I say this as an artist who has been unemployed since March”.
Others pointed to the comparison with women’s reproductive rights. “I strictly question your ‘parallel analogy’ to the choice of a woman in relation to her body. But then I usually question men when they use a woman’s body as a tool to further their own agenda and interests…” commented Kate Black-Spence. “And does your catchy concept of the right to free choice also apply to the workers in the kitchen, on the floor and to the musicians you employ? What does freedom of choice look like when the power dynamics of an employer are involved?
Washington Newsday contacted Le Piano and attempted to ask owner Willetts for further comments, and will update this article as it comes in.