Reaction came fast and furious from across the city of Chicago Tuesday after health officials announced that a mask mandate will once again be imposed in indoor public settings, with business owners and customers now having to make adjustments amid rising coronavirus cases.
The new requirement, which will impact bars, restaurants, gyms and other businesses, will officially take effect Friday. All residents 2 years of age and older will be required to wear masks in those establishments, according to Chicago health officials.
Coronavirus cases in the city of Chicago have been steadily rising, with officials pointing toward metrics that show that the city is seeing more than 400 new cases of COVID each day.
Masks, which had been recommended for unvaccinated individuals previously, will now be required for everyone.
Needless to say, many Chicagoans saw the writing on the wall.
“I’m not surprised by the mask mandate,” Amy Giordano of Gus Giordano Dance said.
“We all saw it coming,” Chicago resident Warren Schaefer added. “For the last month, they’ve been asking people to wear masks indoors.”
According to officials, the mandate will remain in place so long as the city is seeing more than 400 cases of COVID per day.
“Once we get through the delta surge, I anticipate that will come back down when we are under 400 per day, and we’ll move to mask recommendations,” Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said. “Back under 200, the recommendation would be removed.”
Some businesses have already been mandating masks amid a surge in COVID cases, including the Galleria Shops in Andersonville and Tori Grace Outfitters.
The latter business has anticipated more business for their handmade masks, and has already ramped up purchasing and manufacturing.
“I just recently started making them again because they started saying ‘mask mandate coming,’ and now here we are,” Heather Polcaster said. “I’m just getting prepared so I’m ready for orders.”
The mandate will go into effect Friday. Customers must wear masks in all businesses and restaurants, but can remove the mask to eat or drink, or to receive services like beard trims or facials, according to city officials.