CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago will no longer require people who have been fully vaccinated to wear a mask in most cases, although Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said businesses that aren’t able to regulate which visitors are vaccinated and who isn’t are encouraged to keep a mask requirement in place.
The announcement comes one day after Gov. JB Pritzker also announced he was updating the statewide mask mandate in Illinois, to lift the requirement for a face covering in most cases for people who have been fully vaccinated, in line with the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.READ MORE: Weekend Guests At Six Flags Great America Say Crowds, Closed Rides, Huge Fight Involving 20 People Ruined Their Experience
“If you are not fully vaccinated, you need to continue to wear your masks in all indoor settings,” Arwady said Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received their final dose of the vaccine.
Arwady said city buildings will continue to require anyone who enters to wear a mask until the city fully reopens without any capacity limits, which could happen as soon as June 11. She said the city also will encourage private businesses to do the same.
In line with new CDC guidance on masks, Arwady said people who have been fully vaccinated will still be required to wear a mask when when they are in planes, buses, trains, or other forms of public transportation; in congregate settings like jails and homeless shelters; in healthcare settings; or in schools or day care facilities.READ MORE: Massive Chemical Plant Fire In Rockton, Illinois, Could Burn For Days
Arwady said she understands that many restaurants and businesses don’t want to be in a position where they’re being forced to verify the vaccine status of visitors entering their buildings, which is why the city is advising that businesses simply continue to require masks indoors for now.
“I hear them on that. I think it’s very hard to check people’s vaccination status at this point. It’s certainly a lot of additional work, and we know that there a hardware store might not feel like it’s appropriate for them to be checking status. That’s why we are putting the advisory in place that, at least right now while capacity limits remain in place, our advice is that settings that don’t want to check vaccine would continue to have masks in indoor settings,” she said.
The update to the city’s mask rules comes one day after Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged the CDC to provide more clarification on its guidance for face coverings, saying she believes the CDC’s announcement last week that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in most settings “has left people a bit confused.”
“It’s great to say you don’t need to wear masks if you’re fully vaccinated, but that raises a whole set of questions that I think perhaps they didn’t clearly anticipate. So I think some clarification is needed, and I expect that to be coming soon,” she said. “I don’t want to have people lulled into a false sense of security that, simply because some folks are vaccinated, that it’s all good, and we don’t need to do anything more. We have a lot more that we can do.”
Lightfoot said she plans to continue wearing a mask in public, because of those questions about the latest federal guidance.MORE NEWS: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Backs Declaring Juneteenth An Official City Holiday Starting Next Year
“I know that I’ve been fully vaccinated, as has my wife and others, but we don’t know in any given setting who has been fully vaccinated, and I will just say for myself, I will continue to wear my mask, certainly indoors, but also in certain outdoor spaces, when I don’t know the people that I’m around, whether they’ve been fully vaccinated or not,” she said.