CHICAGO - Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Monday announced that people who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear a mask or practice social distancing in most indoor and outdoor settings.
The CDC still requires masks to be worn in healthcare setting, in congregate settings and on transit. The same will apply for people in Illinois.
However, outside those parameters, people in Illinois who are fully vaccinated no longer need to mask up or keep a safe distance.
"Getting vaccinated is the ultimate protection from COVID-19 and the quickest ticket back to normal life," Governor Pritzker said in a statement. "With public health experts now saying fully vaccinated people can safely remove their masks in most settings, I’m pleased to follow the science and align Illinois’ policies with the CDC’s guidance. I also support the choice of individuals and businesses to continue to mask out of an abundance of caution as this pandemic isn’t over yet."
As of Monday, more than 4.6 million Illinoisans are fully vaccinated.
"While the updated guidance from the CDC is welcome news, let me remind everyone that this guidance is only for those people who are fully vaccinated," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. "Individuals who do not have the protection afforded by one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines should still wear a mask. While more than 64% of adults in Illinois have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, we need to increase that number. To slow down disease spread and the development of even more deadly variants, we need as many people as possible to be vaccinated."
People in Illinois who are not vaccinated are reminded to continue wearing masks in most settings.
In addition, the changing guidance means vaccinated people can start taking their masks off at some stores.
Walmart, Target, Costco and Starbucks changed their policies nationwide last week with the CDC’s announcement, saying vaccinated customers do not have to wear masks. However, FOX 32 has found most stores still require it.
Businesses can still choose to keep the mask mandate in place, and face coverings will still be required in Illinois schools and in daycares.
Some say, though, the only confusing part about the new guidance is honest patrons.
"I’m concerned about the people who… how they are going to make sure people are truthful if they've had the vaccine or not," said Sarah Brow.
One local doctor says the CDC may be rushing the new rules.
"It seems like the CDC kind of put it out there as a motivation to get more people vaccinated, but the concern is the opposite effect and we may taking steps backward," said Dr. Jain.
Fully vaccinated people can:
- Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
- Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
- Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
- Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
- Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
- Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible
For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations