Chicago Tribune staff
Mask mandates will lapse on Monday in Illinois and Chicago.
Masks still will be mandatory on public transportation and in places such as hospitals and day care centers, and businesses still can require them as they see fit. The city will also remove its order that requires businesses to check that customers are vaccinated.
Restaurants and businesses may also still require masks and vaccine cards — some Chicago-area establishments have already announced they intend to keep the provision.
Many public health experts say the decision to lift the mandates is sound, as COVID-19 cases have declined and more hospital beds have freed up. But they advise people with certain health conditions, as well as those who are not vaccinated, to continue wearing masks, particularly an N95 or KN95.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided a backstop for the decision Friday by adjusting federal mask guidelines to focus less on COVID-19 cases and more on hospitalizations and health care capacity.
After the Illinois Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court order that blocked his school mask rule and the CDC came out with its new guidance, J.B. Pritzker said he would no longer require face coverings in schools beginning Monday. Most districts across Illinois had already gone mask optional or announced plans to do so next week. He left the door open to requiring masks in schools and other settings once again if Illinois is overcome by yet another surge.
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