Jul 13, 2022 - COVID

The case for masked hours

Illustration of a question mark wearing a mask.

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

While we might be back down to "medium" COVID-19 transmission risk levels, hospitalizations across Illinois have actually doubled since mid-April.

  • As of Thursday, 1,309 people statewide were hospitalized with COVID, the most since Feb. 21.

Why it matters: Those vulnerable to serious cases have few public places where they can be sure others are wearing masks.

  • So we asked readers and officials at a handful of local institutions about possible solutions.

By the numbers: When asked if Chicago should consider masked hours, 354 Axios readers answered definitively.

  • Yes — 73.4%.
  • No — 26.6%.

Reality check: Few places beyond theaters and the Logan Square Farmers Market — which has a masked first hour — offer these protections.

  • We also sent out masking hour inquiries to the MCA, the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Mariano's and the Museum of Science and Industry.
  • Not one responded.

💭 Justin's thought bubble: It's not a new idea. Heck, there have been special early hours set aside for much less. (Disneyland, anyone?) I like it and applaud the Logan Square Farmers Market for stepping up.

  • It's well past time for more local institutions to start thinking again about their immunocompromised constituents.

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