With COVID cases and hospitalizations still down in the city of Chicago, officials said several mitigation measures in place during the omicron surge will end later this month.
One of these mitigation measures is the requirement to wear face coverings in indoor spaces. Businesses will be allowed to drop that requirement on Feb. 28, but officials also said any establishment that wants to continue imposing its own rules will be allowed to do so.
The other mitigation that will be rolled back on February 28 is the requirement to present proof of COVID vaccination in indoor establishments where masks are regularly removed to eat or drink. This requirement, put in place at the height of the omicron surge in January, will also be removed at the end of the month, officials say.
Officials have warned that the mitigations could return if a new strain of COVID again moves the numbers in the wrong direction, but with hospitalizations at their lowest level since before the delta surge in August 2021, officials expressed concern. trust that now is the time to remove these rules.
In accordance with the state of Illinois, Chicago will lift its indoor mask mandate early next week in some public places as long as coronavirus measures continue to drop, officials said Tuesday.
The one vaccine-related rule that won’t be scrapped, at least according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, is the mandate that city workers get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“If you’re a City of Chicago employee, you need to be vaccinated,” Lightfoot said. “We are not worried about changing that. Not at all. The rules were very clear. We announced them in August and gave ample opportunity (to get pictures). “
Lightfoot said those requirements are especially critical for first responders like paramedics, police and firefighters.
“Callers assume that people entering … are exercising the utmost security themselves and not endangering other callers for help,” she said.
The city’s rollback of COVID mitigation measures is now in step with the rest of Illinois, which plans to drop its mask mandate on Feb. 28.