Chicago's mask mandate may not end when statewide restrictions are lifted, Lightfoot says

Gov. JB Pritzker's Illinois mask mandate to end Feb. 28
CHICAGO (WLS) -- While COVID case numbers and hospitalizations have been on a downward trend in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot wouldn't commit Monday to eliminating the mask and vaccine mandate in indoor spaces by the end of the month.

Lightfoot said the city is "making tremendous progress" in bringing down COVID-19 cases, but added that 500 cases per day is "not where we want to be," saying "we're still seeing too many people dying every day from COVID."

"I don't want to put an artificial date on when this is going to happen when we still see some danger signs in the data," Lightfoot said.

Last week, 23rd Ward Alderman Silvana Taberes joined other aldermen urging the mayor to ease restrictions.

"When politicians are not on the same page, it's very frustrating to our neighborhood businesses," Tabares said. "What I hear from residents is they're sick and tired, and it's not just of COVID. They want politicians across Illinois, the state of Illinois, to get on the same page."

READ MORE: Pritzker to lift Illinois mask mandate for some

Gov. JB Pritzker said he anticipates the state's indoor mask mandate for venues that are not schools, hospitals and public transit will lift on Feb. 28 as COVID hospitalizations continue to drop.

"We are now seeing the fastest rate of decline in our COVID-19 hospitalization metrics since the pandemic began," Pritzker said last week.

So when will the city of Chicago ease or remove mask and vaccine mandates? Mayor Lightfoot isn't ready to commit yet.

"We're using the same set of data and metrics that we've used throughout the pandemic," Lightfoot said. "We're making progress, but we're not there yet."'

Those metrics include having three of four data points in the "lower transmission" threshold. Those include cases diagnosed per day, seven-day rolling average for test positivity, hospital beds occupied by COVID patients and ICU beds occupied by COVID patients.

The mayor did say they hope to have an update on the status of those mandates later this week.
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