Chicago Reimposes Indoor Mask Mandate, Including Toddlers

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 16: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot listens as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg holds a press conference following a tour of a commuter transportation hub on July 16, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Buttigieg was in town to rally support for President Biden’s $1.2 trillion roads and bridges infrastructure …
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on Tuesday announced the reinstitution of the city’s mask mandate applying to all indoor public settings after lifting the mask requirement for fully vaccinated people in May.

Per the CDPH, masks will be required in all indoor public settings and apply to those two and older, whether they are vaccinated or not. The mandate applies to bars, restaurants, gyms, and common areas of residential buildings.

A girl, wearing a mask, walks down a street in the Corona neighborhood of Queens on April 14, 2020 in New York City. - New York will start making tens of thousands of coronavirus test kits a week, its mayor announced Tuesday, as the city looks to boost testing capacity with a view to ending its shutdown. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

A girl, wearing a mask, walks down a street. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

“Similar to previous mask mandates, masks can be removed at restaurants, bars and other eating/drinking establishments by patrons when they are actively eating and drinking,” a press release of the announcement states, specifying that masks “can also be removed for certain activities that require their removal, such as beard shaves or facials.”

“Additionally, masks can be removed by employees in settings that are not open to the public, if employees are static and maintaining at least six feet from all other individuals (office cubicles, for example),” it adds.

The requirement goes into effect Friday, August 20.

“With the highly transmissible Delta variant causing case rates to increase, now is the time to re-institute this measure to prevent further spread and save lives,” CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. said.

“We continue to track the data closely and are hopeful this will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve, as we’ve done in the past,” Aewady continued.

Masks, however, remain optional for outdoor settings, although the city is recommending unvaccinated individuals to consider masking up in outdoor, crowded settings.

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 17: A child wearing a face shield and mask stands in the cafeteria of Medora Elementary School on March 17, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Today marks the reopening of Jefferson County Public Schools for in-person learning with new COVID-19 procedures in place. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

A child wearing a face shield and mask stands in the cafeteria. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

The change comes months after the city adjusted its guidelines to coincide with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this year after the federal agency said fully vaccinated individuals no longer needed to mask up.

In July, however, the CDC altered its position, instructing fully vaccinated individuals to “wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.”


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