CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois residents are now required to wear a face mask or covering in public, but what exactly does the new rule mean?
Illinois will remain under a stay-at-home order until at least the end of May, as Governor JB Pritzker extends social distancing guidelines in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The extended order, which takes effect May 1, aims to ease up on restrictions across the state. However, Illinoisans will be required to wear a face mask in public when social distancing isn't an option.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has released guidance on the use of masks by the general public.
STOPPING THE SPREAD
As public health experts continue to learn about the novel coronavirus, they believe the virus is spread between close contact via respiratory droplets produced when people cough, sneeze, or talk; or by contact with contaminated surfaces. While staying home, social distancing and strict hand hygiene are still preferred methods of preventing further spread of COVID-19, facemasks are one more tool health experts now believe will help protect the general public. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention originally advised against the use of face masks for healthy people, research increasingly suggests coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. The CDC has updated these guidelines, taking into consideration how face masks affect transmission.
WHO SHOULD WEAR A MASK
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of 2 wear cloth face coverings in public where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores, pharmacies and other public settings where community-based transmission is significant.
CDC officials say the use of a simple face covering can help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
WHEN TO WEAR A MASK
All Illinoisans should wear a mask or face covering when they must leave their home or report to work for essential operations. The guidance is especially important when people cannot or it is impractical to maintain 6 feet of physical distance, as advised by the CDC.
Example areas include:
The most effective measure for preventing further spread of COVID-19 remains staying at home when you are sick.
WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE TO WEAR A MASK
Those who are staying at home and have no close contacts that are infected with COVID-19 do not need a mask while at home.
Other situations that don't require a mask or face covering include:
Best practices for homemade masks or face coverings include:
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY MASK?
Health experts say it is a good idea to wash your mask or face covering at least daily.
Place your used mask in a bag or bin away from small children or pets until they can be laundered with detergent and dried on a hot cycle.
If you remove and reuse your mask before washing, consider putting it in a plastic or paper bag (not your backpack or purse) and be mindful not to put the mask where others can touch it or where the mask will contaminate other shared surfaces.
Always wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.
Paper-based masks should be discarded after each use, according to IDPH.
Fabric masks, scarves or bandanas should work just fine -- as long as the material allows you to breathe while wearing it.
Prepare the mask:
Prepare the ties: