NORMAL (WEEK) -- The Town of Normal is limiting gatherings in and around Illinois State University up to 10 people and requiring customers of establishments with liquor licenses to be seated to be served, according to two emergency orders issued by Normal Mayor Chris Koos through home rule provisions.
"The Town of Normal is concerned with limiting and preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus," Koos said. "It’s in our citizens’ best interest to take these measures to stop the spread of COVID-19."
"If we don’t take appropriate steps, we risk the safety of our citizens and future economic shutdowns which jeopardize the economic health of our community."
According to a release from the Town of Normal, community partners share concern over the increasing rising positivity rate of COVID-19 in McLean County:
- President of Illinois State University Larry Dietz: “Illinois State University has long been a committed partner with the Town of Normal. The University has many COVID-19 health and safety guidelines in place and members of the campus community are strongly urged to abide by those guidelines during their off-campus activities. We greatly appreciate the initiative of the Town of Normal and will continue to be a partner in the fight against COVID-19.”
- Director of McLean County Health Department Jessica McKnight: “Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is a community endeavor. Controlling the spread of the virus relies greatly on individuals acting responsibly and doing what evidence shows will protect them and those around them, including avoiding large gatherings and wearing face coverings. The Mayor’s emergency orders clearly show an expectation of behavior, demonstrating the Town of Normal’s dedication to health and protection of the public. Our community is being proactive to stop the current trajectory. For the citizens of McLean County, we are all committed to doing what we can to move things in the right direction.”
Parties and large gatherings present a heightened danger of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Emergency Order No. 20-011 limits gatherings of more than 10 people in areas in/around Illinois State University, as defined by the Town of Normal Parking Impact Zone (see the accompanying map), as well as multifamily residential buildings anywhere in the Town or the common areas or parking lots related to multifamily residential buildings.
The following ordinance requirements apply to parties or gatherings on private property:
- Face coverings are required for people over the age of two and those able to medically tolerate a face covering when unable to maintain a six-foot distance from others;
- The maximum occupancy is 10 persons, including the host;
- The host must maintain a current and accurate occupancy count and immediately provide that count upon the request of any Enforcement Officer;
- The party or gathering must comply with any other guidance related to social distancing or the gatherings issued by the State of Illinois or its agencies or the McLean County Health Department that do not conflict with this ordinance.
- There may not be more than one party or gathering present in any common area or parking lot related to a Dwelling Unit or Multifamily Structure.
Violations of ordinance requirements will be deemed a “nuisance party,” with gathering hosts and attendees subject to fines. Failure to comply could result in fines up to $750 for hosts and attendees. This emergency order is effective immediately, (5 p.m., Aug. 28, 2020). The Mayor may extend the order for up to two additional 48-hour periods.
Be Seated To Be Served
Emergency Order No. 20-012 requires customers of on-premise liquor establishments to be seated to be served, to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while standing and to observe social distancing measures. Per the State of Illinois guidelines for restaurants and bars released Aug. 25, face coverings are required when interacting with staff.
Customers may stand only for limited purposes, including using the restroom, placing an order at a designated service area or while picking up an order for carry-out. These limited purposes do not include eating or drinking. No more than two patrons may stand to use any individual arcade game, dart board, pool table, or similar game or entertainment device at any time.
Liquor licensees are responsible for enforcing these standards and for posting requirements regarding seating and face coverings at all entrances. Customers refusing to comply with these requirements are in violation and subject to fines of up to $750 per violation. This emergency order goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2020 and will remain in effect for 48 hours, until 5 p.m. on Wed., Sept. 2, 2020.
Enforcement and Fines
Any member of the Normal Police, Fire, or Inspections Department, any member of the Illinois State University Police Department, or any agent of the McLean County Health Department can enforce these emergency orders.
“Our intent is to create safe environments for citizens and limit crowd sizes which contribute to the spread of the virus,” explained Koos. “We are seeking cooperation and will try to avoid issuing fines. We would like to use fines only when necessary. And, first offenses may be lower, but those in violation could face fines up to $750 per offense.”
The Normal Town Council will hold a special meeting Sept. 2 to consider a longer extension of both emergency orders.
"Increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to be reported, with a rolling positivity rate of more than 8%," Koos said. "Through contact tracing, we understand the majority of these cases are a result of large gatherings and/or frequenting drinking establishments."
"We have to do something to stop the continued increase of the positivity rate. Ultimately, our goal is to keep businesses open. We don’t want to take steps back in Restore Illinois plans.”