Did Illinois Lift Its Mask Mandate? Here's What Changed

Here's a breakdown of what's still required in the state

NBC Universal, Inc.

Illinois' mask guidelines have changed.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday the state's mask mandate was updated following new guidance for fully vaccinated people from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pritzker said he issued an updated executive order removes the mask requirement for fully vaccinated residents in most settings and the Illinois Department of Public Health "is rescinding emergency rules in the Control of Communicable Disease Code that enforce masking and distancing for vaccinated people in business settings."

Meanwhile, Chicago's health department said it is "reviewing the state's new executive order and will provide a formal update [Tuesday]."

"While this review is ongoing, existing rules requiring mask wearing and social distancing in Chicago remain in place," the department said in a statement.

Here's a breakdown of what's still required in the state.

For Individuals

The new order states that "any individual who is not fully vaccinated and who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering (a mask or cloth face covering) shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance."

"This requirement applies whether in an indoor space, such as a store, or in a public outdoor space where maintaining a six-foot social distance is not always possible," the order reads.

Officials also said all residents should continue wearing masks on public transportation, in congregate facilities and in healthcare settings regardless of their vaccination status.

Masks will also continue to be required in schools, daycares and educational institutions.

For Businesses

According to the new order, all businesses must:
• ensure that employees who are not fully vaccinated practice social distancing and wear face coverings when social distancing is not always possible;
• ensure that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing; and
• ensure that all visitors (customers, vendors, etc.) to the workplace who are not fully vaccinated can practice social distancing; but if maintaining 4 a six-foot social distance will not be possible at all times, encourage those visitors to wear face coverings; and
• continue to take all necessary steps to protect employees and customers by ensuring that any return to work plans adhere to all applicable public health guidance.

Businesses "may continue to require face coverings and social distancing, even for
those who are fully vaccinated," according to the order.

The CDC revised its guidelines on Thursday, saying that vaccinated individuals should not be required to wear masks in indoor and outdoor settings, with some exceptions.

Pritzker praised that new guidance on Monday and said he would still wear his mask in some circumstances and planned to proceed "carefully."

"I think this morning, it was the first time that I came out of my home not wearing my mask immediately. There was nobody that was standing there nearby and so I felt comfortable doing that," he said. "I am trying to be careful when I'm in large crowds. You saw that I was wearing my mask seated, I think standing at the podium, with the kind of distance that we have, It seems appropriate not to wear one, you've seen me do that before as well. And I'm going to take it, you know, gently and carefully going forward, but I do think that the CDC's guidelines are good ones and that we will follow them here in the state of Illinois."

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike echoed the need for caution.

“While the updated guidance from the CDC is welcome news, let me remind everyone that this guidance is only for those people who are fully vaccinated,” she said in a statement. “Individuals who do not have the protection afforded by one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines should still wear a mask. While more than 64% of adults in Illinois have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, we need to increase that number. To slow down disease spread and the development of even more deadly variants, we need as many people as possible to be vaccinated.”

Pritzker again encouraged anyone who is not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect themselves and others as the masking guidance changes.

"I want to point out, especially for adults who are unvaccinated, one of the reasons that the CDC issued the rules as they did was the recognition that studies have now been done showing that if you're vaccinated, you're protected. If you're unvaccinated, you are not protected," Pritzker continued. "So I encourage people who are unvaccinated still to wear their masks, but to go get vaccinated, because I think we all want to get past this. We all would like to take off our masks but we do need those who are unvaccinated to go get vaccinated, and they can do that right now, today, it is available. You don't need to sign up for an appointment if you don't want to. You can show up at a number of sites and just get vaccinated."

On whether or not people should carry their vaccination cards or if there will be any sort of requirement for people to prove that they are vaccinated in order to not wear a mask, Pritzker said the responsibility will fall on individuals and private businesses.

"That's gonna be up to private businesses and to individuals if they want to carry something like that with them. The state will provide the data and information for private solutions for that if people want to use something like that, there's no requirement, however," Pritzker said. "We are relying upon people to do the right thing, we are relying upon people to recognize that they don't want to infect other unvaccinated people and they don't themselves want to get sick and so it's important for people to protect themselves and I think there's a real motivation for people to go get vaccinated as well."

Contact Us