cdc mask guidelines

Where You Still Need to Wear Your Mask in Illinois – Even If You're Vaccinated

Illinois has new mask guidelines for fully vaccinated residents following guidance from the CDC

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Illinois has new mask guidelines for fully vaccinated residents following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that he is issuing an updated executive order that will remove 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."

So what does that mean for you and when will you still need your mask? Here's a breakdown.

What is the new mask guidance?

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.

Fully vaccinated means those who are two weeks post their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or their first shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Pritzker said he is revising executive orders to sync up with new CDC guidelines.

“Getting vaccinated is the ultimate protection from COVID-19 and the quickest ticket back to normal life,” Pritzker said in a statement. “With public health experts now saying fully vaccinated people can safely remove their masks in most settings, I’m pleased to follow the science and align Illinois’ policies with the CDC’s guidance."

IDPH said in announcing the new guidance that fully vaccinated people can:

The CDC still recommends that unvaccinated people continue to take preventive measures, such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. In their latest guidance, the CDC now reports that indoor and outdoor activities pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people and that fully vaccinated people have a reduced risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to unvaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated people can, per the CDC and IDPH:

  • Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible

But fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wants "clarification" from the CDC on the new guidance, calling the rollout "abrupt."

Lightfoot appeared on MSNBC Monday morning and was asked, "Should people in Chicago wear masks or not?"

"Well, I think we’ve gotta get some clarification from the CDC. The rollout obviously is, the reporting has been, was a bit abrupt, and I think they’ve got a lot of clarification that they need to do," Lightfoot said. "I know for me personally, I’m gonna continue to wear a mask in public and I’m gonna encourage others to do so."

Where do I still need to wear a mask if I am fully vaccinated?

According to the CDC, "fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing," but there are some exceptions.

Those exceptions include places where masks are required by "federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance."

Fully vaccinated people should also continue to wear a well-fitted mask in:

  • Crowded indoor settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters
  • If you travel, you will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations
  • Schools and daycares

You will also still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses, according the CDC.

In Illinois, residents should continue wearing masks on public transportation, in congregate facilities and in healthcare settings regardless of their vaccination status, according to Pritzker's office. Masks will also continue to be required in schools and daycares in the state.

Stores will have the option of requiring masks.

"I also support the choice of individuals and businesses to continue to mask out of an abundance of caution as this pandemic isn’t over yet," Pritzker said in his release.

Several major retailers have already announced plans to lift their mask requirement for fully vaccinated shoppers. Still, some are continuing the requirement.

What if I am not fully vaccinated?

If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to wear a mask in most instances.

According to the governor's office, "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."

Those who are not vaccinated can go outside without masks in some cases, however.

Here's a look at what the CDC says is safe for unvaccinated people to do without a mask:

  • Walk, run, or bike outdoors with members of your household
  • Attend a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends
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