As Illinois lifts mask mandate, Mayor Lightfoot wants clarification on CDC guidance

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Chicago planning to update mask mandate Tuesday
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Masks are still a must for the masses filing into the Friendly Confines, but that mandate may be short-lived.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker has officially put Illinois in line with the CDC, lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people, although masks are still required in healthcare settings and on transit.

But Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday she's keeping her mask on in most public settings and she is encouraging others to do the same, despite new CDC guidelines that say fully vaccinated people no longer need masks in public.

New CDC guidance that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a mask indoors leaves open the question of how to tell who has been vaccinated and who has not.

RELATED | New CDC guidance does not grant permission for widespread mask removal: Walensky

But Lightfoot said the announcement has left some people confused, and that the city needs more information before changing its rules on masks.

"I will just say for myself, I will continue to wear my mask, certainly indoors and in certain outdoor spaces, when I don't know the people that I'm around, whether they have been fully vaccinated," Lightfoot said.

In a statement, the City of Chicago said they " businesses who want to require masks inside their establishments...Chicago will broadly align with the CDC and State's updated mask guidance... CDPH is reviewing the State's new executive order and will provide a formal update tomorrow."

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday she's keeping her mask on in most public settings and she is encouraging others to do the same, despite new CDC guidelines.

Lightfoot also said Monday the CDC change in guidance was abrupt, and Dr. Robert Citronberg of Advocate Aurora Health system agrees.

"We expected the CDC to relax the guidelines a little bit, but when they came out last week and said basically if you're fully vaccinated you don't need to wear masks anywhere, that came as a bit of a surprise," Citronberg said.

RELATED | Target no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated customers, workers | List of store policies

Starbucks joined a growing number of companies that ended in-store mask mandates, but most customers at a store in Old Town had theirs on Monday.

"I'm fully vaccinated but I'll wear a mask," Tori Dremonas said. "I mean, no harm no foul, if it makes people comfortable, but I understand wanting to create some sort of incentive for people to get vaccinated."

Target also is no longer requiring fully vaccinated patrons to wear masks.

"I don't trust other people who don't have the shot," said Awilda Heredia. "And the kids around you who could pass anything because they're not vaccinated."

WATCH | 1st workplace vaccinations given out in downtown Chicago

Employees at the Merchandise Mart and at the Wrigley Building were able to get vaccinated on the job Monday.

Meanwhile, a new statewide effort to vaccinate people at their workplace is officially underway.

Vaccination clinics were held Monday at two office buildings in downtown Chicago: the Merchandise Mart and the Wrigley Building.

And on Chicago's North Side, the Cubs are giving fans a vaccine incentive. Ticketholders who get their shot at Gallagher Way during this week's series against the Nationals will receive a voucher for a free hot dog and a soda or water.

That site also marking a milestone Monday, as the number of people vaccinated there is now equivalent to the number of people Wrigley Field holds at full capacity.

Gallagher Way is one of the locations open to 12 to 15-year-olds. So far, more than 32,000 doses have been administered to that age group in Illinois.