Illinois to End Mask Mandate Feb. 28, Excluding Schools – NBC Chicago

ILLINOIS – As coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations continue to fall, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday that he hopes to lift the indoor mask mandate by Feb. 28.

However, the governor’s plan will not include repeal of the mask mandate in public schools.

“We are currently seeing the fastest rate of decline in our COVID-19 hospitalization metrics since the pandemic began,” Pritzker told a news conference.

“If these trends continue, and we hope they do, then on Monday, February 28, we will lift the indoor mask requirement in the state of Illinois, but I want to be clear: many jurisdictions, businesses, and local organizations have their own mask requirements and other mitigations that need to be adhered to,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said that schools need more time before eliminating their mask mandates and indicated that in the coming weeks and depending on the drop in infections, he would be announcing a plan to eliminate them.

The governor’s announcement comes after he appealed a circuit court ruling on Monday that found Pritzker had exceeded his statutory power by requiring the use of face masks in the classroom.

Although wearing masks will be optional in certain spaces by the end of the month, the state will continue to comply with CDC guidance and require their use in:

  • Health and medical care centers
  • Long-term care and housing facilities
  • Collective settings such as correctional facilities and shelters
  • Public transport, airports, trains, buses and planes
  • Schools and nurseries

The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, defended the use of face masks especially in places with large concentrations of people.

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“Masks offer a layer of protection for people who have an underlying health condition or who are close to those who do, they may choose to continue wearing them. Similarly, if you are in a crowded environment, a mask, can help protect you, we will continue to recommend wearing masks,” Ezike said.

The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, defended the use of face masks especially in places with large concentrations of people.

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