On Monday, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that it will re-institute a face mask mandate for all indoor public settings. This action comes as the average number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Chicago surpasses 400. All individuals aged 2 and over, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask as of Friday, August 20, while indoors in public settings.
“With the highly transmissible Delta variant causing case rates to increase, now is the time to re-institute this measure to prevent further spread and save lives. We continue to track the data closely and are hopeful this will only be temporary.”CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D.
Masks will be required in all indoor public settings, including bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of multi-residential buildings, and private clubs. Similar to previous mask mandates, masks may be removed at restaurants, bars and other eating/drinking establishments by patrons when they are actively eating and drinking. Masks can also be removed for certain activities that require their removal, such as beard shaves or facials. Additionally, masks can be removed by employees in settings that are not open to the public, if employees are static and maintaining at least six feet from all other individuals (office cubicles, for example).
Masks also remain mandatory on public transportation, in healthcare settings, schools, and correctional and congregate settings. The new public health order does not include capacity limits at public places, and masking remains optional in outdoor settings, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings.
Because more than 70% of Chicago adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, Chicago’s rates of COVID hospitalization and death are much lower than they were in 2020 at the same case rate.
Webinar: Navigating Chicago’s New COVID-19 Masking Regulations
Friday, August 20th at 1pm
The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) will be holding a webinar to provide an overview of the mask mandate. To register for a webinar, visit chicago.gov/businesseducation.
On July 27th, the CDC issued updated guidance that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) in areas with “substantial and high transmission,” wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant. Based on Chicago’s population, the city is in the CDC’s “high” category of local transmission. The daily average case rate rose to 419 on Monday.