According to new rules put out by Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) on Monday, the state will no longer require people who are fully vaccinated to wear masks in most settings.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the quick turnaround in guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week caused uncertainty in Illinois over the weekend as the governor’s administration said that it would be updating guidelines but did not release official information for several days.
“One of the reasons that the CDC issued the rules as they did was the recognition that studies have now been done showing that if you’re vaccinated, you’re protected,” Pritzker said at an unrelated event Monday before the new guidance was announced. “If you’re unvaccinated, you are not protected. So I encourage people who are unvaccinated still to wear their masks but to go get vaccinated because I think we all want to get past this we all would like to take off our masks.”
More information is set to come out on Tuesday from Chicago health officials, but Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday she will continue to wear her mask in most public settings and is encouraging other people to do so, as well.
As reported by The Daily Wire, the CDC caused confusion when it abruptly announced last week that it was changing guidance on mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,” the CDC said in its updated guidance. “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
CDC Director Rachel Walensky said: “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
Lightfoot said the announcement led to some people being confused, and that Chicago needs additional information before it amends its mask rules.
“I will just say for myself, I will continue to wear my mask, certainly indoors and in certain outdoor spaces, when I don’t know the people that I’m around, whether they have been fully vaccinated,” Lightfoot said.
When it comes to his own actions regarding wearing a mask, Pritzker said he would “take it gently and carefully going forward.”
“But I do think that the CDC guidelines are good ones, and we will follow them in Illinois,” he said.
The city of Chicago said in a statement that it will “… support businesses who want to require masks inside their establishments … Chicago will broadly align with the CDC and State’s updated mask guidance … CDPH is reviewing the State’s new executive order and will provide a formal update tomorrow.”
The CDC has come under widespread criticism for its handling of masking guidance. Former Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said the CDC did not roll out the information well.
“I think this was an appropriate call based on the science,” Dr. Jerome Adams said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.” “I think the play call was right, but they fumbled the ball at the one-yard line in terms of communicating this to the public.”
“I think you miss the nuance about protecting yourself versus protecting an organization,” Adams said. “It was a little bit of whiplash for the American public in terms of them saying just a week before, ‘Keep your mask on’ and then all of sudden they’re saying, ‘Now you can take them off.’”