The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) will re-institute a face mask mandate for all indoor public settings as the average number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Chicago surpasses 400.
All individuals aged 2 and older, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask as of Friday, Aug. 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," said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. "We continue to track the data closely and are hopeful this will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve, as we've done in the past."
Masks will be required in all indoor public settings, including bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos and multi-residential buildings, and private clubs. Similar to previous mask mandates, masks can 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).
Coverings 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.
Eight states added to travel advisory
On Aug. 17, the CDPH added eight statesMinnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and West Virginiaas well as the District of Columbia to its weekly COVID-19 travel advisory.
There are now 39 states and three territories on the travel advisory, with all of them surpassing the mark of 15 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 residents.
Any unvaccinated people traveling from these states and territories are advised to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 10-day period upon arrival. Vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine or receive a negative test.