More Chicago Businesses Cited for Violating City's Indoor Mask Mandate: Officials

Several Chicago businesses were cited for violating the city's indoor mask mandate so far this month, officials said Tuesday.

According to Chicago Mayor Lori Lighftoot's office, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) issued one "notice to correct" and 10 citations to businesses between Sept. 2 and Sept. 5.

The city's new indoor mask mandate took effect on Aug. 20. A similar mandate is also in place for the entire state.

"BACP is putting all businesses on high alert and letting them know that we will be strictly enforcing the City of Chicago mask mandate that went into effect on August 20th," the department said in a release. "Citizens are encouraged to contact 3-1-1 to report violations of the mask mandate."

In the lead-up to Labor Day, the city said investigators conducted 110 investigations and issued a total of 66 citations, including 10 for "failure to abide by the City of Chicago mask mandate."

The city's mask mandate applies in all indoor settings for everyone 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status.

The Chicago Department of Public Health said masks are required in "all indoor public settings, including bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos and multi-residential buildings, and private clubs."

Chicago health officials said this mandate is similar to previous orders in that masks can be removed at restaurants, bars and other eating or drinking establishments by patrons "when they are actively eating or drinking."

Masks can also be removed for "certain activities that require their removal, such as beard shaves or facials," CDPH said, as well as by employees in workplaces that are not open to the public, if employees are static and stay at least six feet from all other individuals - like in office cubicles.

Masks are still mandatory on public transportation, in health care settings, schools, correctional facilities and in congregate settings.

Masking remains optional in outdoor settings, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower, health officials said, but recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings.

"With the highly transmissible Delta variant causing case rates to increase, now is the time to re-institute this measure to prevent further spread and save lives," CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. "We continue to track the data closely and are hopeful this will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve, as we’ve done in the past."

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