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UPDATE: Illinois officially updates mask guidance for fully vaccinated people

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UPDATE: SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WREX) — Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health have announced that Illinois will align state executive orders with the latest CDC guidance and rescind IDPH emergency rules enforcing masking and distance.

The announcement follows guidance from the CDC that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing a mask and practicing social distancing in most indoor and outdoor settings. The governor said earlier on Monday that the updated guidance would be coming soon.

The CDC continues to require masks for everyone in healthcare settings, in congregate settings and on transit.

In addition, in line with CDC guidance, the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health require masks in schools. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services requires masks in daycare.

"Getting vaccinated is the ultimate protection from COVID-19 and the quickest ticket back to normal life. 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."

Gov. Pritzker

The Governor is issuing an updated executive order to remove the mask requirement for fully vaccinated people in most settings, and the Illinois Department of Public Health is rescinding emergency rules in the Control of Communicable Disease Code that enforce masking and distancing for vaccinated people in business settings.

In line with CDC guidance, individuals who are unvaccinated should continue wearing masks in most settings and both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks on public transportation, in congregate facilities, and in healthcare settings. 

Check out 13 WREX's coronavirus vaccine resources page

As of today, more than 4.6 million Illinoisans are fully vaccinated — 58% of residents 16+, 64% of residents 18+ and 86% of residents 65+.

Latest CDC Guidance

The CDC still recommends that unvaccinated people continue to take preventive measures, such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. In their latest guidance, the CDC now reports that indoor and outdoor activities pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people and that fully vaccinated people have a reduced risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to unvaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • 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.

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

“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.  “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.”    

CHICAGO (WREX) — We now have a better idea of what the new guidelines for wearing a mask will look like in Illinois.

Speaking during a news conference on Monday, Governor JB Pritzker said the state will follow the CDC's updated guidance.

"I do think the CDC's guidelines are good ones and we will follow them here in the State of Illinois," Gov. Pritzker said.

However, when we can expect an official updated guidance in the state is still up in the air.

"We're working on making changes to our mask mandate in the state to meet the CDC's new masking guidance that they gave late last week," Gov. Pritzker said. "So we'll be announcing those changes shortly, it just takes a little bit of time to work through."

The governor said he's still wearing his mask when he needs to. He also said he's going to "take it gently and carefully moving forward" in terms of not wearing a mask.

The governor also urged everyone to get vaccinated if they're still unvaccinated.

"One of the reasons the CDC issued the rules as they did is the recognition that studies have now been done showing that if you're vaccinated, you're protected. If you're unvaccinated, you are not protected. So I encourage people who are not vaccinated still to wear their mask but to go get vaccinated...we all would like to take off our masks," Gov. Pritzker said.

Check out 13 WREX's coronavirus vaccine resources page

As for proof of being vaccinated, the governor said that'll be up to private businesses. The governor said the state will not be mandating a vaccine passport of any kind.

"We're not going to stop people and start checking a vaccine passport as a state mandate," Gov. Pritzker said.