No Sign of Chicago Mask Mandate Ending: ‘Better Sense’ by Thanksgiving

Mayor Lightfoot Celebrates with No Mask
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Local health officials in Chicago are showing no immediate signs of lifting the city’s mask mandate, as Dr. Allison Arwady of Chicago’s health department said they will have a “better sense by, I think, Thanksgiving.”

“I know there’s a lot of interest in not needing to wear the mask,” Arwady said during a Monday press conference, explaining that removal of the mandate is not “imminent,” as the Windy City is reporting an average of 291 cases per day. 

“I have been talking with [the Illinois Department of Public Health] about taking that regional approach and being able to remove that as an indoor mask requirement,” Arwady continued, adding she would be “very happy” if the city could get out of what she described as the “substantial risk” category. 

“But, really, looking ahead, we’ll have a better sense by, I think, Thanksgiving,” she said, suggesting the mask mandate is likely to stay in place for at least another month.

Arwady’s remarks coincide with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), who has also shown no signs of lifting the statewide mask mandate, which he reimplemented in August.

“I want them [mandates] to go away too, but we want to make sure that we’re keeping people healthy and safe following the guidelines that doctors are offering for us,” he told reporters on Tuesday, adding, “obviously we want to remove the mitigations as we approach the holidays”:

We want to make sure these numbers keep going down. We’d like very much to head into, you know, we have three holidays coming up, but especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, where people spend extended amounts of time together, so we’d like very much to get to a place where we can remove certain mask mandates.

Notably, Illinois has seen an 11 percent uptick in cases over the last two weeks, while Florida — which has never had a mask mandate in place, has seen a 33 percent decrease.

Arwady’s remarks follow controversy over Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) posting a maskless picture of herself at Game 4 of the WNBA Finals over the weekend:

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