Businesses react to new mask guideline for bars and restaurants

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Customers at restaurants and bars statewide will have to wear face masks more often under the newest guidelines during the pandemic.

The governor announced that customers will be required to wear a mask during all interactions with wait staff or any other employees. This includes both indoor and outdoor seating.

Governor Pritzker said this requirement is happening because there has been an uptick in coronavirus cases. He said they are implementing the new rule to prevent a further increase of the spread of the virus statewide and to allow restaurants and bars to stay open during the pandemic instead of shutting them down completely.

“If people would exercise good judgment and understand that they’re just trying to be courteous, kind and protect these front line workers, we wouldn’t have to have rules and everything that goes associated with it,” said Jim Roberts, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

Now you must wear a mask while you are ordering, being delivered food and drinks, and any other time staff serves you. Before, people only had to wear them while entering, exiting and moving around the area.

Sean Bared, owner of Watson’s Shack and Rail in Champaign, said he noticed customers have been fairly compliant in the past. “People are very receptive to the new rules. There are only a few people who don’t get it for some reason.” Bared is used to the rapidly changing environment of the restaurant business, so he is taking the new rule in stride. “Restaurant business has always been like this. There’s always something new getting thrown into the loop and we’re always working on our feet and adapting and changing. This has clearly been the biggest year for that.”

Roberts said the latest mask requirement should be taken seriously by customers and restaurant workers. “Businesses are required to have people obey what the governor says, and we have that through our ordinance. So if a business owner has people that are not complying with this, they can ask them to leave.” CUPHD is encouraging people to follow this guideline not only for your safety, but also in consideration for the health and safety of people around you.

“Think of others other than yourself. Think of those frontline workers that are trying to serve you and take care of whatever your needs are. By helping keep them safe, we keep businesses open, which keeps us all going on the right track,” stated Roberts.

The new guidelines go into effect on Wednesday August 26.

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