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."
Pritzker, along with state and federal officials across the U.S., have already recommended face coverings for people who have to leave their homes, particularly to go to places like grocery stores, but only some locations have issued requirements.
"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 Wednesday. "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."
In Illinois, Skokie issued such an order and, beginning Thursday, all individuals in the Chicago suburb will be required 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.
Those workers who are delivering food or products to people’s homes in Skokie will also be required to wear facial protection.
Skokie officials say that residents wanting to walk, run, or bike outdoors will not need to wear masks, 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.
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."
Meanwhile, 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
*Be able to be laundered and machined dried without damage
The order will go into effect at 5 p.m. Thursday.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has advised residents to begin wearing face coverings while out in public, but has not mandated their use.
The village of Skokie also provided a list of retailers that are selling masks, or the material to make masks.
Further information can be found on the village’s special coronavirus response website.