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Illinois mandates masks for all in state buildings for COVID-19

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The state of Illinois will now require masks for everyone, regardless of vaccination, in state buildings and facilities.

In an announcement on Thursday, July 29, the governor’s office said the decision was made because of rising COVID-19 infections across the state.

“Given that the majority of the state is experiencing substantial or high COVID-19 transmission as measured by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)], all State of Illinois facilities will require face coverings – regardless of vaccination status – in line with the CDC’s current best guidance for ending this pandemic,” said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. 

State employees, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth while in a workplace or performing work duties in indoor settings outside of their residence, unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from doing so; and at all times, or as much as reasonably possible, maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from any other person while in a workplace or performing work duties outside of their residence.

Visitors older than two years old are required to wear face coverings while inside State offices and facilities unless they are unable to medically tolerate a face covering.

State facilities will continue to receive regular cleaning services and all employees will be provided with cleaning supplies to disinfect personal workspaces and other high touch horizontal and vertical spaces.

“While the vaccines have been proven to be effective against the Delta variant at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, with this new evidence of breakthrough spread, we are adding another layer of protection for State employees and the people we serve,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “Vaccination is still the best protection against both the older and newer variants that cause COVID-19.”

The governor’s office said that while the state is not currently planning to reinstate mitigations, they will be brought back if necessary.

The announcement comes as the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads quickly through the state. Southern Illinois Pride Fest has already been cancelled because of concerns. Howard Brown Health, an LGBTQ health system in Chicago, is also calling for increased protections for Pride celebrations in the fall.

Data from the CDC show the majority of counties across Illinois are experiencing substantial or high COVID-19 transmission, now including Cook County.

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