As coronavirus cases continue to climb in Illinois, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday she envisions Chicago residents wearing face coverings for at least the near future.
“We're going to be living with masks for the duration. I see that happening, certainly over the course of the summer, fall and maybe up until next year before we see a vaccine come online,” Lightfoot said.
Illinois’ new, state-wide stay-at-home goes into effect on Friday which requires residents to wear protective face coverings or masks when unable to keep a six-foot distance in public to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Speaking at the city’s daily COVID-19 press briefing, Lightfoot said the city is in the process of ordering one million masks to hand out and help residents comply with the new demand, particularly those in low-income areas.
“I don't believe in issuing mandates, and not giving people the tools to be compliant,” Lightfoot said. “So as city we are stepping up, and we will be making sure that our residents have the kind of face coverings that they need to be able to protect themselves.”
Last week Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the extension of a modified stay-at-home order through May 30 that includes the face covering requirement, but Lightfoot said she believes the necessity for protective masks will go long beyond the order.
Lightfoot said a portion of the masks will go to the city’s 50 alderman to hand out to constituents.
On Thursday, Illinois reported 2,563 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the statewide number of infections to 52,918.
The state also reported an additional 141 fatalities, lifting the total number of deaths associated with the virus to 2,355. That number is close to numbers seen Tuesday, which saw the state's highest amount of deaths in a single day since the coronavirus pandemic began. On that day, 144 deaths were reported in 24 hours.