Pritzker Says Masks, Social Distancing No Longer Required for Fully Vaccinated

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Removal of Masks

Governor J.B. Pritzker is removing the mask mandate and social distancing rules in Illinois for fully vaccinated people in most instances.

Following guidance from the CDC that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing a mask and practicing social distancing in most settings, the governor and Illinois Department of Public Health said they will align state executive orders with the CDC.

“Getting vaccinated is the ultimate protection from COVID-19 and the quickest ticket back to normal life,” said Pritzker in a press release. “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.”

Masks Still Required in Some Settings

The CDC still requires masks for everyone in healthcare settings, congregate settings, and on public transit. The state is following this CDC guidance. The Illinois State Board of Education and IDPH will also continue to require masks in schools. Masks will also continue at daycare centers.

What Does this Mean for Those Fully Vaccinated?

According to the latest CDC guidance, fully vaccinated people can do the following:

  • 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

Unvaccinated People

Unvaccinated people should still continue to take preventive measures such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

“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,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in a press release.  “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.”

As of today, more than 4.6 million Illinois residents are fully vaccinated. 58% of the 16 and older population is fully vaccinated, 64% of Illinois residents who are 18 and older are fully vaccinated, and 86% of the 65 and older population is vaccinated.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.