It’s Mask Off Monday in Illinois

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Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels

Although the mask sightings have been fewer and fewer in our area as the weeks have passed, as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, masks are no longer “mandated” to be worn indoors in many locations in Illinois.

Some areas will still see a restriction including long-term care facilities, day cares and health care facilities. Federal regulations are also still in effect while flying commercial.

And cities and private companies can still make rules for mask wear if they choose to do so.

And while most West-Central Illinois schools had already gone mask optional, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s mandate (which was also influenced by legislative and court action) means schools across Illinois will no longer have enforce staff and students wearing masks.

Except for Chicago Public Schools, which continue to enforce a mask mandate.

At first, Pritzker said he would see what lifting the mandate did to cases of COVID-19 before determining whether to exempt schools. But he reversed that late Friday after the Illinois Supreme Court denied his appeal of a restraining order that said the school mandate was not legal.

The mask mandate had been in effect for indoor public settings since Aug. 30, when coronavirus cases started to spike in Illinois, although they were rarely enforced in Adams County.

While Illinois health officials and local medical providers defended the polarizing decision to require mask use, local health departments and county governments abstained.

Supporters said Illinois had fewer new cases, hospitalizations and deaths per capita than neighboring states and the mandate was part of that. But opponents of masks argued this was “Big Brother” not allowing people to make a personal choice, cited examples of mask hypocrisy and questioned the mask’s effectiveness.

After hitting pandemic-high levels in January, new infections have fallen by about 70 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which also reported that since March 2020, Illinois has recorded more than 3 million COVID-19 cases and 32,654 deaths related to COVID-19.

More than 8 million eligible Illinois residents have been fully vaccinated, according IDPH.

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