Indoor dining, decreased COVID-19 restrictions come as UI students return to campus

Student+Mark+Olgun+takes+a+University+COVID-19+test+at+the+State+Farm+Center+testing+site+on+Oct.+9.+Returning+students+must+test+negative+twice+this+week%2C+with+each+test+more+than+three+days+apart%2C+to+get+access+to+academic+buildings+next+week.+

Cameron Krasucki

Student Mark Olgun takes a University COVID-19 test at the State Farm Center testing site on Oct. 9. Returning students must test negative twice this week, with each test more than three days apart, to get access to academic buildings next week.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

After a drop in several key coronavirus metrics, Region 6 of Illinois, including Champaign County has moved back into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, just after a drop in test positivity allowed for the reopening of indoor dining.

The reopening doesn’t come without restrictions: indoor dining at bars and restaurants must cease at 11 p.m., and service is limited to either 25% of the normal dining capacity or 25 guests — whichever is smaller. 

DIning groups are limited to 4 guests per party, and all indoor diners must stay at their tables to eat. 

Champaign County and the rest of Region 6 were allowed to return to Phase 4 after meeting three key metrics: 

  • Seven-day rolling test positivity rate at or below 6.5% for three consecutive days
  • Intensive care unit and hospital bed availability above 20% for three days straight 
  • No sustained increase of hospitalized COVID-19 patients for seven days in a 10-day period

As of Thursday, Champaign’s seven-day positivity rate for COVID-19 stood at 5.4%, while Region 6’s hung around at 6%. 

The return to Phase 4 comes just as UI students are flowing back into the C-U community for their first rounds of testing before the school year begins. 

Over the last 10 days, almost 200 students, faculty and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 on campus. 

Instead of having a spring break, the UI is opting for a delayed start to the semester, using this week as a COVID-19 screening period for those returning to campus. 

In order to get access to academic buildings, students must test negative twice this week, with the tests taken more than three days apart.  

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