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New Rules For Springfield Restaurants; City Council Member’s Wife Tests Positive For COVID-19

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder signing a Declaration of Local State of Emergency March 25, 2020
City of Springfield
Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder signing a Declaration of Local State of Emergency March 25, 2020

Patrons of bars and restaurants must have an assigned table or seat, and shouldn’t leave their seats unless they’re going to the restroom or leaving.

Those are new rules Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder set out under his sixth executive order late Friday aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“We want our businesses to remain open; however, Springfield is part of the Central Region that is now at an increased warning level according to public health officials,” Langfelder said in a news release. “This rise in COVID cases has been connected to many of our bars and restaurants because individuals are not wearing face coverings or following social distancing guidelines.”

Sangamon County saw its second-highest increase in new cases Sunday, at 42. Over the weekend, 76 more people tested positive for COVID-19, and the county surpassed 1,000 total cases. Eight residents are hospitalized and 561 have recovered.

The county reached a warning level according to Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines because its rate of new cases hit 70 per 100,000 last week – above the target of 50 new cases – and emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms are on the rise.

Restaurant and bar owners are responsible for enforcing the new rules, and could be fined $500 for not complying or have their liquor license suspended. This follows an executive order signed two weeks ago allowing the city to write tickets or suspend licenses for bars or restaurants that don’t enforce Phase 4 guidelines – including that employees wear masks.

Meanwhile, Saturday, the city released a statement from Ward 10 Ald. Ralph Hanauer that his wife tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are at home in quarantine and will do so over the next two weeks,” Hanauer said in the news release. “Lisa’s symptoms were equivalent to allergy and sinus problems that are common for both of us this time of year. However, her symptoms were linked to COVID-19. I am stressing to people to wear your masks in pubic, keep socially distant, and wash your hands as much as possible.”

Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

Mary is a reporter at NPR Illinois and graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting program atUISand received her BA in International Studies from American University. Previously Mary worked as a planning consultant and reported for the State Journal-Register where she covered city government.