The city of Chicago in the United States has issued a new mask mandate requiring everyone over the age of two to wear masks when indoors.
The Chicago Department of Public Health recommended on Friday that “businesses, employers, and event organisers require universal masking in all public indoor settings.
The new guidelines keep masks optional outside and make no changes to the social distancing recommendations.
In a statement, Allison Arwady, the city’s public health commissioner, said, “We are taking this step to prevent further spread of the very contagious Delta variant and to protect public health.”
“This isn’t going to last forever, but it’s necessary to help reduce the risk for all Chicagoans right now.”
Cook County was added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) list of areas with “substantial” Covid-19 transmission on Thursday.
Cook, DuPage, McHenry, and Will counties in the Chicago area, as well as 80 others across Illinois, have all reached the point where masks are recommended for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines Tuesday for counties experiencing “substantial” or “high” transmission as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spread across the country.
The Illinois Secretary of State’s office announced on Tuesday that the mask policy will be reinstated in all Driver Services facilities, Secretary of State offices, and the Illinois State Capitol Building beginning August 2.
On Thursday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered that masks be worn at all state facilities under his control.
Illinois health officials reported 2,348 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the second time in three days that the tally has surpassed 2,000.
Over the last seven days, the state averaged 1,669 new daily cases, an increase of roughly 46% from the previous week’s average of 1,140 cases per day.
During the spring surge, Illinois recorded a high of 3,390 daily cases in mid-April.
In addition to new Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations are on the rise in Illinois.
Currently, 903 people are being treated in hospitals across the state for Covid-19, bringing the seven-day average to 796, the highest level since the week ending June 9, when the state was treating an average of 816 Covid-19 patients per day.