As county reopens indoor dining, UI asks students to stay home

Students+stand+in+line+while+waiting+to+enter+TheRed+Lion+on+Saturday+afternoon.+The+University+has+recently+instated+new+guidelines+asking+students+to+participate+in+a+soft+lockdown.

Photo Courtesy of Reddit User im_not_ben_wyatt

Students stand in line while waiting to enter TheRed Lion on Saturday afternoon. The University has recently instated new guidelines asking students to participate in a soft lockdown.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

After a week of preliminary COVID-19 testing, University of Illinois students have been asked to limit themselves to essential activities until at least early February.

For students who disobey the soft lockdown, UI administrators say consequences could be severe: Aside from dismissal, students could lose their internet access.

“Please note that this semester, students who are out of compliance may also lose access to University Wi-Fi, Zoom, Compass and other technologies,” wrote Chancellor Robert Jones in a recent Massmail, which was bolded and underlined.

Feb. 8 is the tentative end of the campus stay-at-home directive, though that’s subject to change given virus trends in the community. For the time being, attending class, COVID testing, grocery shopping, attending religious service, going to work, exercising outdoors and getting medical care make up the advised activities.

Meanwhile, Champaign County has moved back into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, and local restaurants and bars are resuming 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 four 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 Saturday, Champaign’s seven-day positivity rate for COVID-19 — excluding UI tests — stood at 5.3%, while Region 6’s hung around at 5.9%. 

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

Long lines at several campus bars, pictures of which were shared to social media, dispirited some campus-goers this weekend during the UI’s call for essential activities. 

@esimmsnews

[email protected]