Illinois governor eyes lifting 'certain mask mandates' before holidays

Illinois governor eyes lifting 'certain mask mandates' before holidays
© Greg Nash

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said on Tuesday he is hoping to lift “certain mask mandates” before the holidays if cases decline in the state.

“We want to remove the mitigations as we approach the holidays,” Pritzker said at a COVID-19 briefing, the Chicago Tribune reported. “That’s an important marker for us.”

“We want to make sure that these numbers keep going down,“ he added.

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Illinois implemented an indoor mask mandate regardless of a person’s vaccination status after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the move for any area with high rates of transmission. 

All counties in Illinois were considered areas of high transmission rates on Tuesday under CDC standards, but cases have still been going down in the state.

The governor did not lay out specific guidelines or markers for when the state would lift the indoor mask mandate.

“We are closely monitoring numerous COVID-19 metrics including new cases, hospitalizations, deaths, vaccination rates, and outbreaks to help inform the need for increased or relaxed mitigations,” the state’s administration told the outlet in an email sent earlier in the month.

“We are also looking to the CDC for continued guidance, on masking, physical distance (including at least 3 feet in schools), testing for the unvaccinated and symptomatic individuals, and vaccination. At this time, our top priority is protecting the health of the public while ensuring schools, businesses, and other settings can remain open,” it added. 

The head of Chicago's Public Health Department, Allison Arwady, said Chicago would lift its indoor mask mandate after the state lifts it and the city consistently sees below 200 new daily COVID-19 cases.

Chicago is currently in a vaccine mandate battle with its police, as some police officers are refusing to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate.