The new campus party: 10 guests maximum, face coverings required


The Daily Illini File Photo

Students celebrate Unofficial on Friday, March 6. New emergency orders by Champaign and Urbana limit the size of parties to 10 guests on all residential areas on campus, excluding the hosts and legal residents of the property.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

Mayors of both Champaign and Urbana issued emergency orders last week to limit the size of one of COVID-19’s greatest allies: parties. 

Across all residential areas on campus and all multifamily units in both cities, social gatherings are limited to 10 guests tops, excluding the hosts or legal residents of the property. 

All attendees must wear face coverings and social distance, and hosts must keep an accurate occupancy count at all times. 

Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen’s order took effect Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m., and Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin’s the day after. 

“We recognize particularly the first weekend or so that enforcement is going to be key,” Feinen said Wednesday in a press briefing. “We need to be on top of it so students know we’re taking it seriously.” 

The ordinances will be enforced by University police, Champaign’s and Urbana’s police departments and public health officials. Offenders can face fines up to $750 per violation per day.

Since there will be a ticket process for the enforcement of the party ordinance, violations can also lead to University discipline, Feinen said. 

For both orders, “party” is defined as “a congregation of five (5) or more persons who are not related to one another and/ or who do not have a legal right, whether by ownership or lease, to occupy a residence whether such residence is a single or multiple family dwelling or dwelling unit,” per Champaign’s emergency order. 

The “campus area” for Champaign is bound by Wright Street on the east, Canadian National Railroad on the west, University Avenue on the north and Windsor Road on the south. In Urbana, it’s Wright Street on the west, University Avenue on the north, Florida Avenue on the south and Race Street on the east.

During the press briefing Wednesday, Mayor Marlin noted that “it’s not just students for whom parties are a problem.” Off-campus communities contribute as well. 

“We hear on a pretty regular basis of backyard parties, anniversary parties and birthday parties,” she said. “I got wind of one coming up for something like 200 people at a church. People have to understand that this is one of the most consistent ways to spread this disease and one of the riskiest behaviors to be engaging in.”

Community tips have already been flooding in for planned on-campus parties, and the tippers haven’t always been from the campus population. 

“You might not be surprised to know that we are already receiving emails from some (University of Illinois) students’ parents telling us ‘my kid is planning a party at such-and-such location on this date,’” Feinen said. 

Both cities implemented face covering guidelines under their emergency orders as well, in accordance with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Phase 4 guidance. Everyone above 2 years of age without a compromising medical condition must wear a mask or face covering in public areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

[email protected]