Masks‌ ‌no‌ ‌longer‌ ‌required‌ ‌in‌ ‌most‌ ‌public‌ ‌places‌ ‌in‌ ‌Illinois‌

As COVID-19 cases go down, officials feel it is safe to lift the indoor mask mandate


Allie Everhart

Students leave the Upper Campus after school on Friday, some donning masks and some without. Masks have been optional at MCHS since the beginning of February when a state judge upheld a restraining order against Governor JB Pritzker’s mask mandate in schools.

Nikki Sisson, Marketing Director

As of February 28, masks will not be required in most Illinois indoor locations following Governor J.B. Pritzker’s decision to lift the mask mandate.

COVID-19 positivity rates in Chicago are now at 1.5%, and hospitalizations have decreased by 27% in the past week. These were two key factors in deciding to repeal the mandate, according to Pritzker.

“We are now seeing the fastest rate of decline in our COVID-19 hospitalization metrics since the pandemic began,” said Pritzker in a press release. “If these trends continue — and we expect them to — then on Monday, February 28th, we will lift the indoor mask requirement for the State of Illinois.”

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Masks will still be required in certain public places, where it is federally mandated. This includes healthcare settings, public transportation, airports, long-term care facilities, and congregant living facilities. However they will be options on District 156 buses.

Despite the mask mandate lift, some healthcare officials are still recommending the usage of masks, as they can help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

“Masks offer a layer of protection,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in a press release, “and for people who have an underlying health condition or who are around those who do, you may choose to continue wearing a mask. Similarly, if you find yourself in a crowded, indoor setting, a mask can still help protect you.  We will continue to recommend masks.”

Some students at MCHS agree with Dr. Ezkie, and will still wear masks at school and in public. 

“Having [the option to wear a mask] open to most students is not a bad thing,” says sophomore Nate Gibson. “I choose to wear a mask because I’ve just gotten used to it.”

However, other students feel it is now safe to stop wearing masks, and are happy the mandate has been lifted. 

“I feel that it’s great,” says junior Ashley Ramon, “I feel that [masks] shouldn’t be required.”

The mask mandate lift also applies to Illinois schools — including the Freshman and Upper Campuses, which made masks optional in the wake of judge’s order at the beginning of February.