Does that costume mask count as a face mask under Illinois' COVID masking guidelines?
According to Illinois health officials, the answer is no. But before you go doubling up on a costume mask and an N95 or cloth mask, health officials say that too is not recommended.
The information was released as part of the Illinois Department of Public Health's new Halloween guidelines. (Full breakdown here.)
“Although we’re still in the pandemic, this Halloween and Fall festivities season will look a little different than last year thanks to the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that are readily available,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “However, we must still take precautions as not everyone is vaccinated and a vaccine for children younger than 12 year is not yet available."
Ezike said while getting vaccinated remains the best way to protect yourself and others, she encouraged a "layered approach" that includes wearing masks indoors and avoiding or limiting being in settings where physical distancing is not possible.
Illinois remains under an executive order requiring masks in all indoor public locations, but the health department made clear that a costume mask is "not a substitute for a well-fitting mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
"Wearing a costume mask over a face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is not recommended because it could make breathing more difficult," the department said.
Instead, the department suggests finding another costume.
"Safer options include choosing a costume that does not come with a costume mask, or find a costume that incorporates a face covering," the guidance reads.