Chicago To Require Masks Indoors Again Starting Friday, As Delta Variant Fuels Latest COVID Surge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Facing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases fueled by the more contagious delta variant’s spread among the unvaccinated, Chicago once again will be requiring people to wear masks while indoors in public settings, effective Friday.

The new indoor mask mandate will go into effect on Friday for anyone age 2 or older, regardless of their vaccination status, and covers all businesses in Chicago; including bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos and multi-residential buildings, and private clubs, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Customers will be allowed to remove masks at restaurants, bars, and other eating establishments while they are eating or drinking.

The return the return of the requirement for masks indoors in public settings comes as Chicago has surpassed an average of 400 new cases of COVID-19 per day, largely among the unvaccinated, and caused mostly by the more contagious delta variant.

Chicago is averaging 419 new cases of COVID-19 per day over the past week, up from the rate’s lowest point of less than 40 per day in mid-June.

The latest update to the city’s masking rules aligns with CDC’s recommendation that people wear masks indoors in areas with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19.

According to the CDC, areas with substantial spread are those with 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, and areas with high transmission are those with more than 100 cases per 100,000. Chicago is currently in the high transmission category, as is the vast majority of Illinois. Only one county in Illinois – Stark County – is seeing moderate transmission, three counties are seeing substantial spread, and the rest are in the high transmission category.

Chicago lifted its indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in most settings in May, leaving in place a requirement for those who weren’t fully vaccinated to continue wearing masks indoors. In June, the city lifted all of its mask requirements when it fully reopened for the first time since the pandemic started.

However, businesses have been allowed to set their own rules regarding masks and social distancing, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still requires masks on public transportation and in airports.

Earlier this month, Gov. JB Pritzker announced a mask mandate for all Illinois schools, both public and private.

Feeds,News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago

via CBS Chicago

August 17, 2021 at 02:39PM

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