Illinois’ New Mask Rules And Covid Restrictions Begin TODAY, Here’s What You Need To Know
Illinois is back under statewide restrictions TODAY in response to rising covid-19 numbers. What do Illinois residents need to know about the restrictions, and how could there possibly be MORE restrictions coming in the future?
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced last week that beginning today, there would be new statewide restrictions to attempt to stop the spread of the virulent new delta variant, particularly among unvaccinated people, who have been hit particularly hard by it.
“Nearly all Illinoisans who are hospitalized are those who are unvaccinated. From January to July, 98 percent of our cases have been among the unvaccinated, 96 percent of our hospitalizations have been among the unvaccinated, 95 percent of deaths have been among the unvaccinated,” Pritzker said. “These are preventable deaths. Beyond the tragedy of losing lives this means wreaking damage on entire communities. Vaccination is the most effective tool we have for keeping this virus at bay.”
What does that mean for YOU and what are the new restrictions?
Everyone is required to wear a mask indoors in public settings — everywhere from businesses to government buildings to other venues — and to social distance at outdoor events. The mask mandate applies to anyone over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status, echoing the same mask mandate brought back to Chicago two weeks ago, and to Cook County surrounding Chicagoland last week.
All educational system and healthcare system employees will be mandated to get the covid-19 vaccination or submit to regular testing for covid. All higher education employees and students will also be mandated to get the covid-19 vaccine.
In early August, Pritzker announced Illinois students preschool through 12 would be required to wear masks during school and indoor sports and activities, as reported on QuadCities.com. That requirement for kids to wear masks in all schools remains in effect.
More mitigations could be on the way if numbers do not improve, Pritzker said.
“To be clear, what I am announcing today is a floor, a minimum,” Pritzker said.
How long will the mitigations continue?
“Until we alleviate the pressure on hospitals we’re going to have to continue the mitigations we have in place,” Pritzker said. “We need to make sure ICU beds and the healthcare system is available not just for people with covid but for other issues which might take them to the hospital.”
How long will masks be required in schools?
“We have to be able to see the curve bend as it did before, before we end those requirements, and we’re nowhere close to that right now,” Pritzker said. “That goes for other mitigations as well.”
When could further mitigations be put in place? Pritzker didn’t give a timeline, but did say the door was open to them.
“We all know when these numbers get to a place where it’s out of control, you have to take further steps,” he said.
For ongoing coverage of this issue, continue to check in daily with your free, fact-based local alternative media, QuadCities.com.