CHICAGO — Officials are urging everyone in Chicago to wear a mask when voting — and, yes, it should cover your nose.
Coronavirus is surging in the city, with the positivity rate and number of new cases quickly climbing. Hoping to slow the spread, election officials have said they expect voters to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart when waiting in line and when inside polling places.
Poll workers will also wear masks and practice social distancing, Marisel Hernandez, chair of the Chicago Board of Elections, said at a Monday news conference.
“Safety is our top priority …,” Hernandez said.
Masks have been shown to greatly slow the spread of COVID-19 — meaning wearing one will help protect other people, officials have said.
People’s masks should cover their noses and mouths, Hernandez said. Polling places will provide masks to people who do not have an appropriate face covering.
Hand sanitizer will also be available to voters, and polling stations will be spaced apart and separated by plexiglass barriers.
Other officials — including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Gov. JB Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health — have repeatedly reminded Chicagoans and people throughout Illinois to wear a mask when voting.
Masks are mandated in Chicago and across Illinois, and “you must wear one when you go into a polling place,” Lightfoot said Friday.
If someone refuses to wear a mask, they’ll be able to vote — but they’ll have to do so away from everyone else. Poll workers have been trained to handle issues that could arise.
“Encourage your neighbors, your family members to come out and vote,” Hernandez said. “It is so important for everyone to exercise this most sacred right.
“And I encourage everyone to do it safely, to be kind in line, to be patient. We’re all in this together.”
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