Aug 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Illinois issues indoor mask mandate, orders vaccines for educators


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced a statewide indoor mask mandate and vaccine requirements for state workers, including teachers and school staff.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor's latest restrictions come as COVID-19 cases across the state are on the upswing, largely driven by the Delta variant. "Unfortunately, we are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds," Pritzker said at a news conference Thursday.

  • "Hospital staff are becoming overwhelmed and overburdened. People are dying who don’t have to die."

Details: The mask mandate, effective Monday, applies to all Illinois residents ages 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status.

  • The vaccine requirement for educators is set to start Sept. 5. School employees who are exempt must be tested once a week, per Reuters.
  • The state will also begin requiring vaccines for eligible students and health care workers.
  • This month, Pritzker announced a mask requirement in all Illinois public schools.
  • Per Illinois' new vaccine rule, teachers who refuse to be vaccinated will be required to submit to testing at least once a week.

Zoom in: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday that all city employees, including police officers, park employees and sanitation workers, must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.

  • Chicago and Cook County already have indoor mask mandates in place.
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