While the State of Illinois had already targeted the end of February as the rollback date for its mask mandates in indoor spaces, the City of Chicago has now announced that it will also follow this same timetable to conclude the month. .
Here’s what we know so far.
When will the terms end?
The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois will end their indoor masking mandates on February 28. The City of Chicago will also end its requirement for customers to show proof of a COVID vaccination on that date, officials say.
The city announced its plans Tuesday, while the state of Illinois announced its decision to rescind the warrants earlier this month.
Where will they remain in effect?
The city and state said there will be select areas where masks will continue to be required at this time.
This list includes:
-Health Care Parameters
-Long-term care facilities
– Congregational life facilities
All of those decisions were based on guidelines and requirements put forward by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials said.
What does the data say about where we are headed in the pandemic?
In the city of Chicago, officials were monitoring four key metrics when deciding whether to overturn warrants: COVID cases, positivity rates, hospital admissions and patient census data from the ICU COVID.
Three of those four readings had to be at a “lower transmittance” factor per CDC guidelines, and the last three readings are all within that range at this time.
COVID cases are still at a “substantial transmission” factor, but dropped in Chicago by 37% last week, falling to 283 on Monday.
The current COVID positivity rate is 1.5%, while hospitalizations have fallen to 227, down 29% from last week.
ICU admissions are currently at 68, also well below the “low transmission” risk factor.
Will Chicago Public School Students Always Be Required to Wear Masks?
As the city of Chicago officially announced it would roll back its requirement for masks in most indoor settings on Feb. 28, officials say a decision on whether to require face coverings in Chicago public schools has not yet been taken.
The decision to require masks in schools was conspicuously absent from a press release issued Tuesday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health. While the state of Illinois originally planned to keep the mask requirement in place in schools, Chicago officials say no such decision has yet been made regarding CPS.
“They are engaging with their stakeholders internally and externally, and I expect an announcement from them in the coming days,” Lightfoot said during a press briefing on Tuesday. “So for now, CPS students must wear masks.”
Will City of Chicago employees still need to be vaccinated?
Mayor Lightfoot says city employees will still need to get their COVID shots.
“We’re not about to change that at all,” she said. “The rules were very clear. We announced it in August and we offered many opportunities. If you are a City of Chicago employee, you must be vaccinated.