Increased enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines to be voted on at next city council meeting
The Decatur City Council will be voting on whether to require entities that hold city licenses and sell alcoholic liquor to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines as a condition of their licenses. This concept was first introduced to the council on July 6 and I am very supportive of greater enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines.
THE PERCENTAGE OF INDIVIDUALS TESTING POSITIVE HAS INCREASED IN RECENT WEEKS
Using data published by the Macon County Health Department (https://www.maconcountyhealth.org/recent-news-releases/), in the 7 days prior to July 6, the number of COVID-19 tests conducted was 904 and the number of new positive cases was 8 (% positive results = 0.8%). In the 7 days prior to July 27, the number of COVID-19 tests conducted was 2,031 and the number of new positive cases was 96 (% positive results = 4.7%). (Note: these calculations were made based on data from the Joint COVID-19 Press Releases for June 29, July 6, July 20, and July 27)
DECATUR RESIDENTS WANT SAFETY GUIDELINES ENFORCED
The city conducted a COVID-19 Awareness and Impact Survey between April 22 – May 6 in which 1,688 residents responded. Based on the responses to the survey’s open-ended question, citizens had three main concerns: “… better enforcement of measures particularly at shops and big stores …” (such as social distancing), “… wearing masks in public to be made mandatory …”, and “a call for a slow, calculated and monitored reopening of the economy ...”
THE DECATUR CITY COUNCIL SHOULD INSTILL CONFIDENCE THAT OUR CITY IS AND WILL REMAIN SAFE
Protecting the health of our citizens and the city’s economic recovery will require citizens having assurance that the entities they frequent are safe, and I am very thankful to the many individuals and entities that are following safety guidelines. When entities refuse to follow guidelines, it can corrode confidence in both the entity and the city. The city council should instill confidence that our city is and will remain safe through greater enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines.
NINE SAFETY GUIDELINES ARE BEING PROPOSED
“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, shall require performers and patrons be separated by an impermeable barrier with a height of six (6) feet or greater and shall require performers wear face coverings.
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.”
THE CITY COUNCIL WILL VOTE ON MONDAY, AUGUST 3 AT 5:30 PM
Meetings take place at the Theater located on the second floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE - An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.
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/.