CHICAGO — People should continue to wear face coverings every time they leave their home, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.
The mayor announced Friday the city will move into Phase 4 or reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. And though that move is coming because Chicago has made progress in the fight against COVID-19, Lightfoot and other officials continued to urge people to wear face coverings every time they’re in public.
“We know it makes a huge difference,” Lightfoot said during a press conference. “We know that it will reduce the spread and the risk of [coronavirus] … . Any time you leave your house, wear a face covering.”
Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Chicago could take steps back and re-close businesses if there is another wave of coronavirus cases.
Both officials said that means people should still take care like they did during earlier phases — and that means wearing face coverings, staying 6 feet apart from others, staying home if sick and washing their hands frequently.
The state started requiring people to wear face coverings in public in late April. People are supposed to wear face coverings when in public and when unable to social distance, like in stores or on crowded sidewalks. Many businesses have independently required customers to wear face coverings, as well.
Neither state nor city officials have taken measures to enforce the state’s requirement, though, with Lightfoot saying Friday she wants to educate people into compliance rather than ticketing people.
“I know that has happened in other countries. I don’t think it works in the United States,” Lightfoot said. “We do want people to wear face coverings every single time you leave your house. It is the safe, smart thing to do.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear face coverings, saying they can slow down the spread of coronavirus.
The CDC has created guides for making coverings with or without sewing. Coverings can be made out of anything from jeans to old T-shirt or even bandanas, according to the agency.
The agency recommends people wash their masks or coverings routinely in a washing machine.
“COVID-19 is still very much part of our present in Chicago, and it will be for the foreseeable future,” Lightfoot said, adding that every ZIP code in Chicago saw new cases just last week. “Having a resurgence in cases is more than a risk. It is a very real possibility if we, meaning you, don’t do everything possible to follow the guidance and minimize the risk of a resurgence. That means social distancing. That means wearing a face covering when you go outside,” and following hand hygiene rules.
“If [a spike] happens here, we will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to keep COVID-19 from rapidly spreading here again,” by going back to Phase 3, Lightfoot said.
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