Enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines as a condition of city licenses approved by the city council
The Decatur City Council voted 4-2 to require entities that hold city licenses and sell alcoholic liquor to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines as a condition of their licenses. The city code applies to all city license holders and sellers of alcohol including large retailers, convenience stores, gas stations, video gambling establishments, restaurants and bars.
Among the required safety guidelines are: “Licensees shall require patrons and employees of licensees wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times when on premises”, “Licensees shall be prohibited from allowing persons to congregate on licensed premises in a number greater than allowed by guidelines …”, and “Licensees shall require all patrons of unrelated parties maintain a social distance of six (6) feet.”
WHEN GUIDELINES ARE NOT BEING FOLLOWED CONTACT THE CITY MANAGER’S OFFICE
If you are aware of an entity that is not following COVID-19 safety guidelines and/or want to inform the city of an entity doing an outstanding job following the guidelines, you can contact the Decatur City Manager, Scot Wrighton at 217-424-2801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW CITY CODES SHOULD BE REVISED SOON
While I am very supportive of greater enforcement of the COVID-19 safety guidelines, there are a number of unanswered questions about the new city code that should be addressed by the council in short order. For example, it is unclear what steps will be taken when the city receives a complaint, what entity within the city will investigate complaints, and how complaints will be addressed in a consistent manner (i.e., warnings, fines, loss of license, etc.). The new city code also lacks a specific end date. These issues, as well as other suggestions provided to the city, should be addressed soon.
NINE SAFETY GUIDELINES INCORPORATED INTO THE CITY CODE FOR LICENSE HOLDERS INCLUDING ENTITIES SELLING ALCOHOLIC LIQUOR
“A. Licensees shall maintain a minimum of six (6) feet between tables, bar seating or other designated patron service areas.
B. Licensees shall allow no more than ten (10) persons in a party be permitted.
C. For standing areas, the licensee shall maintain the maximum occupancy of twenty-five percent (25%) of standing area capacity.
D. Licensees shall require all patrons of unrelated parties maintain a social distance of six (6) feet.
E. Licensees shall require patrons and employees of licensees wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times when on premises, including while waiting for a table, while seated at a table or bar, while standing in line to order, pick-up or check out, while ordering and all other times, except when eating or drinking at a table or bar, unless a medical condition or disability prevents them from safely wearing a face covering.
F. Licensees shall require employees and performers of music maintain a social distance of six (6) feet from each other and patrons and performers, if first row of seating is within six (6) feet of stage, any seating within six (6) feet of stage shall be closed or an impermeable barrier shall be installed and shall require performers wear face coverings if practical.
G. Licensees shall require all external suppliers and non-patron visitors wear face coverings over their nose and mouth when entering licensed premises unless a medical condition or disability prevents them from safely wearing a face covering.
H. Licensees shall be prohibited from allowing persons to congregate on licensed premises in a number greater than allowed by guidelines set forth in Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity guidelines.
I. Licensees shall be required to follow all guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for Restaurant and Bar Establishment Safety Guidelines not otherwise specifically set forth.”
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss this or any other issue with a city council member, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.