Illinois governor to lift mask mandate except for schools

7 months ago

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that at the end of the month he will lift the requirement for face coverings to be worn in most indoor spaces to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the mandate will stay in place for K-12 schools where students, teachers and staff are clustered together.

“All of us are getting tired of wearing masks, that’s for sure,” Pritzker said at an event in Champaign. “But I have to say, I mean an enormous compliment to the people of Illinois ..., you have done such a good job of keeping each other safe.”

Pritzker said the worst of the omicron variant of the deadly virus has passed and with hospitalization numbers plummeting, masks no longer need to be worn to enter restaurants, grocery stores or other indoor spaces.

Although the change in policy doesn't apply to schools, the Democratic governor has appealed a circuit court ruling last week that found he had overstepped by requiring face coverings for in-person learning.

During the worst of the surge in cases involving the omicron variant, hospitalizations soared to a peak of 7,400; the number of inpatients has dropped to about 2,500.

Pritzker had scheduled a Wednesday afternoon briefing on the COVID-19 situation in Illinois where he was expected to explain the change in rules in more detail.

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