City code changes could impact businesses

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA)–In August of last year, the city council voted to change city codes pertaining to liquor licenses and other types of licenses and permits. Places like restaurants, gas stations, bars, and larger retailers that have liquor licenses and other types of licenses and permits must follow the safety guidelines and mitigations by the state. If violated, they could be fined or have their liquor license suspended. The City of Decatur will meet to talk about changes to the city code and that could effect businesses if it is repealed.

“Had we repealed that city code, in short the city would lack enforcement ability for entities that wanted to violate the COVID-19 safety guidelines and rules that the state has issued,” said David Horn with the Decatur City Council.

The city council will discuss the city code on Tuesday. “We could decide to repeal those changes to city code. We could decide to weaken those changes to city code, or we could choose to do nothing,” said Horn, “I think there is disagreement amongst the council members about the importance of the mitigation measures that are currently being required at the state level.”

This meeting comes after the Macon County Board passed an ordinance on Thursday to allow indoor dining at restaurants without risk of being shut down by the Macon County Health Department. “We did not and we do not approve of going against the Restore Illinois Plan that was developed by experts and by a medical staff,” said Krystle Tempel with the Macon County Health Department.

City leaders say the safety of the community should always come first. “If the city council decides to repeal or weaken the city codes that we passed in August, it likely will increase the risk of the general public to infection from COVID-19,” said Horn, “If public safety and enforcing the health of our public is top priority, we must continue to have enforcement capabilities.”

“We are going to continue to partner with area businesses to provide education and guidance just like we’ve done throughout the entire pandemic,” said Tempel.

In response to the Macon County Board’s decision on Thursday, the City of Decatur released a statement. It says in part. “The state’s rules remain in force whether or not a county, village, or city government chooses to enforce them. The laws and rules of the state supersede those issued by local government where they are in conflict with this matter.”

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