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Do you still need to wear a mask in Illinois? Here’s what you need to know

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CHICAGO — Do you still need to wear a mask in Illinois? The short answer: It depends.

Chicago and the state of Illinois fully reopened on Friday as it entered into Phase 5, roughly 15 months since the pandemic prompted shutdowns and stay at home orders.

Entering Phase 5 means that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations — including local business and workplace guidance.

Individual businesses can enforce their own mask and social distancing regulations, which can lead to confusion. A business that does not require masks may very well be next door to a business that does. To avoid confusion, it is recommended to call ahead before visiting, or to check that business’ social media pages. Some places have signs at entrances and drive-thrus.

The following are the regulations set in place by the CDC, State of Illinois and City of Chicago:

CDC guidelines:

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Illinois guidelines:

  • Consistent with CDC guidance, fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons are required to wear a face covering in certain situations including
    • (1) on public transportation, planes, buses, trains, and in transportation hubs such as airports and train and bus stations;
    • (2) in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and
    • (3) in health care settings.
  • Individuals in schools and day cares must also continue to wear face coverings per guidance issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Chicago guidelines:

  • The City of Chicago will no longer require masks for fully vaccinated people in most settings. If you are not fully vaccinated, you need to continue to wear your mask in all indoor settings.
  • Chicago will align with federal and state guidance and will require everyone to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, in health care settings, schools, correctional/congregate settings, and on public transportation.
  • Businesses and local municipalities can put in place additional mitigations as they deem appropriate.

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