Chicago Reimposes Mask Mandate Amid Coronavirus Surge
The Chicago, Illinois Department of Public Health has reinstituted a mask mandate that will take effect on Friday, August 20th. The decision comes as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 400 on Tuesday.
The new rule does not discriminate between individuals who are vaccinated against the coronavirus and those who are not.
“Starting Friday, masks will be REQUIRED in all indoor public settings as the average number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Chicago surpassed 400. Everyone regardless of vaccination status will be required to wear a mask while indoors in public settings. This mandate includes all indoor public spaces such as bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos/residential buildings, and private clubs,” the agency wrote in a Facebook post. “Like previous mask mandates, masks can be removed during certain activities that require it, and in offices not open to the public, when you can distance. The new public health order does not include capacity limits at public places, and masking remains optional in outdoor settings, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings.”
CDPH Commissioner Doctor Allison Arwady said in a statement that “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,” adding that “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.”
The mask mandate will be enforced at all indoor venues, “including bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos and multi-residential buildings, and private clubs,” Arwady said, according to NBC 5 Chicago’s reporting. “Similar to previous mask mandates, masks can be removed at restaurants, bars, and other eating/drinking establishments by patrons when they are actively eating and drinking. Masks can also be removed for certain activities that require their removals, such as beard shaves or facials. Additionally, masks can be removed by employees in settings that are not open to the public, if employees are static and maintaining at least six feet from all other individuals (office cubicles, for example).”