City issues new emergency order to prevent surge in COVID-19 cases as students return to campus


URBANA Ill. (WCIA) — Officials with the City of Urbana say they’re taking proactive measures to avert a large spike in coronavirus cases that may coincide with the return of thousands of University of Illinois students to the Urbana-Champaign campus.

A press release from the office of Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin said the new order requires people to remain seated at bars and restaurants, wear face coverings when not eating or drinking, and to maintain social distancing. It also demands bars to restrict entry to people aged 21 or older after 9 p.m.

In addition, it includes a general requirement for people to wear face masks in public and for “any business, service, facility, or organization that is open to the public to require employees, customers, and patrons to wear face coverings when they are unable to consistently maintain social distancing.”

“We wish that these restrictions weren’t necessary, but we’re dealing with a public health crisis that hasn’t changed much since it first started,” Marlin said in the release. “With thousands of people returning to the community this fall, we have to be doubly careful.  We need to practice social distancing measures, wear face coverings in public, wash our hands frequently, and avoid group gatherings which can allow the virus to spread more quickly.”

The mayor also addressed instances of private gatherings, saying “it’s not safe to hold parties in homes or yard.”

“By taking these proactive steps now we hope to avoid a spike in COVID-19 cases,” she said. “Our goals remain the same:  We strive to keep people healthy and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system.”

“Our actions are based on the information we have now,” Marlin continued, adding that we know that consistently wearing face coverings is one of the most effective ways that we, as individuals and as a community, can reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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