The Bloomington Police Department said Friday it will conduct compliance checks at bars this holiday weekend, the latest new strategy aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in McLean County.
BPD's first visit to a bar will be informational only, according to a four-step plan laid out in a BPD Facebook post Friday night. If officers see any violations, they'll give bar staff information about how to become compliant and what enforcement could happen if they don't address it. If BPD sees another violation upon being called back or returning for another check, a police report will be written and sent to the city's legal department and liquor commission for review.
Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner previously warned liquor license holders to enforce mask and capacity limits or risk losing their licenses. In a Facebook post on Friday, Renner said he will continue to hold "establishments accountable as liquor commissioner." He said it will be addressed again at Tuesday's liquor commission meeting.
"We can always do more, we must do more and we WILL do more!" Renner wrote.
Normal Mayor Chris Koos on Friday issued a video plea urging residents to behave responsibly over the Labor Day weekend. McLean County saw an increase in cases after the Fourth of July weekend, and Koos said the community doesn't want to see that repeated.
Koos said health experts are reporting more transmission happening at smaller, family-driven parties.
"It is vital that we all take precautions as we enjoy our end-of-summer transmissions," said Koos, encouraging masks, outdoor gatherings, and not sharing food or utensils.
This week, the City of Bloomington suspended the operation of downtown shuttles that are known for bringing young people (including college students) downtown for a night out.
The Town of Normal has temporarily prohibited large gatherings near Illinois State University's campus. It's also requiring bar and restaurant patrons to remain seated.
McLean County on Friday was placed on the state's warning list, after a surge in cases tied to ISU drove up its testing positivity rate. The number of cases in McLean County has quadrupled in the past month.