At Least 5 More Chicago Suburbs Now Require Masks in Public

The new orders bring the total to at least eight suburbs across the Chicago area that now require face coverings of some kind while working at or patronizing essential businesses

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Officials in at least five more Chicago suburbs - Northbrook, Niles, Highland Park, Wilmette and Morton Grove - have issued a requirement in some form that everyone wear masks in certain public spaces during the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to three municipalities where similar orders were already in place.

North suburban Northbrook Village President Sandy Frum issued an order Friday requiring face coverings for anyone over the age of five when performing essential activities. That order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. CST Monday.

The order requires face coverings like non-medical grade masks, homemade masks, scarves, bandanas or handkerchiefs for the general public, but not medical-grade masks or N95 respirators, which village officials said should be reserved for healthcare workers.

Face coverings should be worn when engaging in essential activities like grocery shopping or seeking medical supplies, while riding public transportation or in ride share vehicles and when working in an essential business, the order states.

Business owners may refuse admission or service to anyone not wearing a mask as required, village officials say. Exceptions include when residents are engaged in outdoor activity as allowed under the state's stay-at-home order, like walking, running, biking and other activities.

The village said it had secured a limited supply of non-surgical, reusable cloth masks to distribute to community members in need at a later date, details of which would be released in the coming week.

With some municipalities already requiring residents to wear face coverings at Illinois businesses, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said expanding the requirement across the state "might be seriously important for us to consider." NBC 5's Lexi Sutter has the story.

Niles Mayor Andrew Przybylo also on Friday issued an executive directive requiring residents to wear a face covering in public, which took effect immediately.

The order applies to anyone engaging in any activity outside their homes when other people are present, like grocery shopping and working at or patronizing essential businesses, the village said. It also does not apply to those participating in outdoor activities like running or walking, or when driving alone in personal vehicles.

Niles officials said that police are not actively enforcing the directive, which does not have a fine for not complying. However, business owners can refuse service to those without face coverings under the order, and police may be called to handle situations at those businesses where a customer does not comply or leave.

Officials in at least three Chicago suburbs have issued an order requiring in some form that everyone wear masks in certain public spaces during the coronavirus pandemic, the latest in Skokie. NBC 5’s Christian Farr reports.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering issued an emergency order which took effect Monday requiring all employees, residents and visitors over the age of two to wear a face covering while engaging in essential activities in the north suburb.

That order mandates face coverings while working in or patronizing essential businesses, shopping for supplies or visiting a healthcare professional, riding in public transportation or ride share vehicles and more.

Highland Park officials also reminded those who are sick not to leave home except to receive medical care and to generally avoid public places.

Like the others, Highland Park's order also allowed exceptions to the requirement for those engaging in outdoor physical activity while social distancing - though authorities said if social distancing during such activities is not feasible, masks are required. The city offered sew and no-sew patterns on its website to make masks at home.

In Highland Park, officials said police would be enforcing the emergency measure, including issuing citations to those who do not comply.

"It is critical that we follow the recommendations of the CDC in terms of remaining at home as much as possible. Continuing to observe social distancing guidelines is vital to protecting our community’s health. The requirement that the public wear masks is not a replacement for social distancing, it is in addition to social distancing,” Rotering said in a statement, adding that the suburb was likely to soon reach 100 cases of COVID-19.

Many Americans are making their own face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and experts say some materials are better than others.

Wilmette Village President Robert Bielinski signed an amended disaster declaration, effective Monday, that requires the use of cloth face coverings for anyone working at or patronizing an essential business, or riding on public transportation.

Face coverings are not required outdoors or while in a personal vehicle, officials said, and the order does not apply to landscapers, private contractors and mail carriers, among others. Businesses may refuse admission or service to anyone not wearing a face covering, Bielinski wrote in a letter announcing the order.

"Wearing a face covering when entering a business open to the public is a simple task that we can all do for the good of not only Wilmette, but for everyone near and far," Bielinski said.

Morton Grove Mayor Dan DiMaria also signed an executive directive Wednesday that requires people to wear a cloth face covering "when they are in public settings, especially while shopping, using public transportation and in situations where social distancing is difficult, the village's announcement reads.

The Morton Grove order does not apply to those exercising outdoors, officials said, though police may issue a warning to anyone not complying, followed by a citation or arrest at the police chief's discretion for further infractions.

Wilmette, Highland Park, Northbrook, Niles and Morton Grove joined at least three other suburbs that had already issued similar orders: Skokie, Cicero and Glenview.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady answer questions from reporters during an April 1 briefing.

Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen issued an order beginning Thursday that requires all individuals to wear face coverings “while working at or patronizing a business open to the public.”

The emergency directive includes grocery stores, restaurants, hardware stores, financial institutions, pharmacies, group homes and more. Workers who are delivering food or products to people’s homes in Skokie will also be required to wear facial protection.

Skokie residents wanting to walk, run, or bike outdoors will not need to wear masks, per the order, but must maintain physical distancing of six feet during the activity. Masks will also not be required while riding in a personal vehicle.

Cicero town President Larry Dominick issued a similar executive order Wednesday, requiring all employees and customers at grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores, convenience stores and gas stations to wear face coverings.

"Failure to comply will result in a citation and a fine," the order states.

Meanwhile, in north suburban Glenview, Village President Jim Patterson signed an order to wear masks that took effect Sunday.

Everyone over the age of 5 is "required to cover their nose and mouth with a covering while working at or patronizing an essential business open to the public and when using public transportation," officials said.

Under the Glenview order, masks are not required during allowed outdoor activity while practicing social distancing, while riding in a vehicle, when drinking or eating,when alone or with household members in a separate single space and when doing so poses a health or safety risk.

There are countless videos online that can help you learn to make your own cloth face mask to protect against the coronavirus, but there’s a lot more to it than you might think. We’ll walk you through how to make an easy no-sew mask and what you need to know about using a mask to stay safe.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that implementing a requirement to wear masks statewide "might be seriously important for us to consider."

Pritzker, along with other state and federal officials across the country, have already recommended face coverings for people who have to leave their homes, particularly to go to places like grocery stores.

"I think it's a something that when I look at the mitigation measures that we should be contemplating and making adjustments to, that is one that I think might be seriously important for us to consider, you know, in the period going forward," Pritzker said.

"Look, anything that we can do going forward, that will protect people and at the same time make it more likely that we can have slightly, you know, different conditions for stay-at-home, better conditions, is a good move," he added.

Pritzker noted that masks are not a substitute for social distancing, however, and such guidelines still need to be followed.

"Let me be clear, wearing a mask is protecting everybody else," he said. "So you're doing everybody else a favor or you know, you're doing the right thing for everybody else in your presence by wearing one. By not wearing one when you're in public, going into a public place or anything like that, you know, it's something you aren't doing to protect other people."

The printing and design company that made Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s popular protective mask is donating to first responders and now selling to the public. NBC 5 Kate Chappell reports.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she doesn't plan on requiring masks, saying, "I think what people need to do is obviously what makes them comfortable."

"I think the guidance that we've given is the right guidance, which is if you cannot social distance comfortable, or if you otherwise feel like you need to wear some kind of face covering and people are doing that," she said.

Per CDC guidelines, cloth masks should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage.

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