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URBANA — A day after Champaign’s mayor issued emergency safety orders for bars and restaurants, Urbana’s mayor has done likewise, with both cities saying these restrictions are necessary to prevent a large spike in COVID-19 cases as University of Illinois students return.

Urbana’s new order requires patrons to be seated when at any bar or restaurant, to wear masks when they aren’t eating or drinking and to maintain social distancing.

Urbana is also requiring bars holding Class A liquor licenses to prohibit entry to people under age 21 after 9 p.m. daily.

Urbana is further requiring the use of face coverings for anyone at a business, service, facility or organization that is open to the public when people can’t consistently maintain social distancing.

The emergency order takes effect immediately, with the exception of the provision prohibiting those younger than age 21 inside bars after 9 p.m., which takes effect at 9 p.m. Thursday, according to Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin.

“We wish these restrictions weren’t necessary, but we’re dealing with a public-health crisis that hasn’t changed much since it first started,” she said. “With thousands of people returning to the community this fall, we have to be doubly careful. We need to practice social distancing measures, wear face coverings in public, wash our hands frequently, and avoid group gatherings which can allow the virus to spread more quickly.”

Marlin also went on to say in a statement issued Wednesday morning:

“It’s not safe to hold parties in homes or yards. By taking these proactive steps now, we hope to avoid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Our goals remain the same: We strive to keep people healthy and avoid overwhelming our health care system.”

These actions are based on information the city has now, Marlin said.

“We know that consistently wearing face coverings is one of the most effective ways that we, as individuals and as a community, can reduce the spread of COVID-19,” she said.