City to issue ordinance limiting party size as students return to campus

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CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Following the issuance of two COVID-19 emergency orders on Tuesday, Mayor Deb Feinen announced the city will issue an additional ordinance that limits the size of “party gatherings” in the Campustown area.

That ordinance will be released in detail later Wednesday.

The announcement follows the City of Urbana’s press release earlier Wednesday, noting a new city 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, Urbana’s ordinance 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.”

On Tuesday, the City of Champaign issued two similar orders aimed at preventing “a large spike in COVID-19 cases that could coincide with the return of thousands of college students to our community for the start of the Fall semester.”

Indoor dining in Campustown restaurants is off the table, according to the second emergency order Feinen signed as a “temporary” restriction. The change means outdoor service and carryout service in Campustown bars and restaurants are the only available options for customers.

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde joined city officials in a press call Wednesay morning, reminding county residents that the board of health recently passed an ordinance giving public health, law enforcement or other employees of state and local agencies the ability to enforce the wearing of masks and social distancing.

“This ordinance applies to individuals who shall be responsible for compliance with this rule on behalf of themselves,” the ordinance says.

CUPHD’s ordinance doesn’t officially take effect until August 24, although the CUPHD board approved in on August 14.

Pryde said the ordinance was issued because “while the vast majority of our county is doing a great job with (preventing community spread), there are places that, for whatever reasons, are not.”

“Where we’ve used carrots for this which works for most people, unfortunately sometimes you need the stick, which is allowed with the enforcement process,” Pryde said.

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