New mask ordinace takes effect Aug 24

In three days residents in Champaign County will be subject to a new public health ordinance requiring face coverings, specifically masks that cover the face and nose, to be worn. With thousands of University of Illinois students expected to return to campus in the four days and the subsequent expected rise in the number positive Covid-19 cases, the Champaign-Public Health District is taking a preemptive move to keep residents in the county safe.

The ordinance, which can be found here, applies to "all persons, businesses, workplaces and any other organizations within the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, which are the boundaries of Cunningham Township and of City of Champaign Township, Champaign County, Illinois." It further states that individuals shall be responsible on behalf of themselves and business on the behalf of their employees and customers are ordered to comply with the new law that goes in effect on August 24.

The new public health rule requires any individual over the age of two and able to tolerate a face covering to wear one when social distancing of six feet or more can not be maintained both indoors and out.

All businesses or facilities open to the public are mandated to require everyone, including employees and management, on their premises to wear properly-fitted masks. Masks may only be removed when eating or drinking. Individuals who refuse to voluntarily cover their face may be asked to leave the property.

Illinois became one of the first states in the country to enhance the penalty for assaulting a retail employee who request customers put on a mask or leave the store premises. Anti-maskers who become violent can be charged with a simple battery, a misdemeanor, which could possibly result in up to a year in prison and fines up to $2,500. Attacks could be charged as aggravated battery. It is a felony that can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison. The offender, if they have a criminal record, could pull as much as 10-year stint and/or fined up to $25,000.

Schools will observe the same measures as businesses. Students also permitted to remove their masks when outdoors and social distancing or while playing an instrument.

The final restriction makes it clear that gatherings of 50 or more people is prohibited until further notice or for 150 days.

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