CHICAGO (CBS) – COVID-19 mask and vaccination requirements were lifted for many Illinois businesses on Monday, and many places in Chicago have already removed signs reminding people of these requirements.
CBS 2’s Asal Rezaei visited the Uptown community on Monday night, where she found a sense of positivity coming from both business owners and people walking through the neighborhood.
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Along the busy Broadway shopping strip in Uptown, there were virtually no “mask required” signs on storefronts Monday night. Indeed, these signs that we used to see are slowly but surely disappearing.
Josh Herbener, the manager of Drink & Ink — a popular bar adjacent to a tattoo studio at 4443 N. Broadway — said he couldn’t be happier to remove his “masks required” sign.
“I said to the bar manager last night, ‘At the end of the night, make sure you take the sign down,’ Herbener said. “I don’t want registration to start today like people even passed by.”
All that remains of the panel is the band that once held it up.
Herbener said the years have been tough enough for so many businesses in the city — and today almost felt like a victory lap.
“We’re happy to do our part and enforce the mandate when we had to, but we’re very happy to move forward and see each other’s faces again,” he said.
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This is especially true in an intimate setting like Drink & Ink, where customers often become friends.
“We’re looking forward to maybe seeing some old faces that I know have been nervous so they didn’t come, so we’re looking forward to maybe bringing them back,” Herbener said.
For healthcare worker Sami White, after almost two years of not leaving the house without a mask, she said she would most likely continue to keep one handy.
“I like his anonymity, in public and kind of on the CTA,” she said.
And while White has gotten pretty used to wearing a mask, she’s comfortable with the lifting of mandates — especially since it’s already happened in so many other states.
“But I think Chicago has done a pretty good job of being pretty, like, thorough about it — especially if we keep masks in healthcare settings and just lift them up for more recreational and social things” , she said.
Employees at many Uptown businesses said they would continue to wear their masks at work as a precaution. All said they would stop demanding it from their customers.
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Any places that still have “masks required” are signing up to remove them on Tuesday.