The city of Chicago has taken steps to tone back its mandates and open the city up more and more, except for when it pertains to its children.
This past Tuesday, Lori Lightfoot, the Democrat Mayor of Chicago, released an announcement that the city will be retiring its mask mandates for most areas along with its proof of vaccination requirement for indoor settings such as bars and restaurants at the end of the month.
Lightfoot stated that she will “not hesitate” to reinstate new mandates and laws in the future to try and safeguard public health, but also highlighted that her intent was not to “shut down our economy again.”
As reported by ABC Chicago, “Lightfoot said the key metrics of cases and hospitalization numbers are putting Chicago in a position to no longer require masks in most indoor spaces.”
“Because we are now on the downward slope of that surge, we don’t believe that there is any further need for these mandates,” expanded Lightfoot. “It’s important for us to recognize this moment for what it is — a huge step forward in our effort to overcome COVID-19.”
Individual businesses can still create policies for forcing masking and vaccination proof. The mayor also stated that she intends to keep wearing a mask in public.
“Particularly in a restaurant setting, where I have no idea now whether the people sitting around me are vaccinated, I’ll be wearing a mask,” claimed Lightfoot.
Authorities went on to note that COVID-19 cases had dropped by almost 97% from their highest point back in December. Masks will still be forced on public transportation, inside all healthcare locations, other areas as recommended by CDC guidelines and federal rules, and also, finally, Chicago Public Schools.
Dr. Allison Arwady, the Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner, stated that she has no expectations for a large increase in COVID-19 cases in the next week.
“We always expect as we lift some mitigations that we’ll see a little bit of a resurgence,” claimed Arwady. “One of the reasons why we don’t want to move too soon is to make sure that at the time that we lift that we can tolerate a little bit of an increase there. I’m very confident that the next short while here is likely to be reasonably calm.”
Arwady stated that mask mandates could be reinstated “if we get back into a higher risk setting.”
This move follows in the wake of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) planning to drop their indoor mask mandate for public areas as of the 28th of February if the number of new cases continues to drop.
The governor reportedly is wanting to maintain the mask mandates for all schools. His administration has tried to get rid of various court rulings that questioned the legal ability of his administration to force mask mandates, quarantines, and vaccination or testing rules for employees.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune: “The ruling by Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow threw schools into disarray, as some districts immediately switched to a mask optional policy while others only allowed students whose families were part of the lawsuit to be exempt from mask requirements. Chicago Public Schools is continuing universal masking and other COVID-19 mitigation measures, while some suburban districts that initially kept their requirements in place have since given way to more lenient policies.”