Illinois Governor JB Pritzker
Brian Cassella | Chicago Tribune | Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced at a press conference Wednesday a mask mandate for all state students regardless of their vaccination status, requiring face coverings in all indoor spaces from preschool through high school.
Pritzker stated that the new order would affect 1.8 million unvaccinated children under the age of 12. In addition to the mask requirement in schools, Pritzker ordered face coverings in all state long-term care facilities as well as in state correction facilities. Veterans homes, psychiatric clinics and development centers.
“Preventing outbreaks from the start also prevents children from having to stay at home because they are sick or in quarantine,” Pritzker said.
The move is made as the coronavirus delta variant is rapidly spreading across the state and nation.
Illinois recorded a 46% increase in cases last week, a seven-day average of nearly 1,669 new coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Pritzker’s announcement also comes as state and local governments continue to put health measures in place to contain the spread of the infectious disease. Seven Northern California counties issued a mask mandate for all indoor spaces on Monday, making a face-covering recommendation issued in July a requirement.
On the same day, Louisiana issued a new statewide mask mandate for indoor public residents through at least September 1, a measure that includes students from kindergarten through college. Nevada revived its indoor public mask mandate on July 27, though it only applies to counties with increased Covid transmission rates.
And on Tuesday, New York City ordered vaccinations for employees and guests at the city’s restaurants, gyms, and entertainment centers, an order that will go into effect in September. Mayor Bill de Blasio also said in June that city schools would maintain their mask requirement.