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Chicago Says Fully Vaccinated People Don’t Need To Wear Masks — But Advises Businesses To Keep Requiring Them

People who aren't fully vaccinated — including children — need to continue wearing masks in all indoor public settings, said the city's top doctor.

People dine outdoors in Lakeview during Summer 2020.
Facebook/Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce
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CHICAGO — The city is no longer requiring fully vaccinated people to wear masks in most settings.

The move puts Chicago’s masking policies in line with state and federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday the state won’t require fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in most places, as well.

Under the city’s guidance, people who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus — meaning it’s been at least two weeks since their final vaccine shot — do not need to wear masks outdoors and in most indoor places, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Tuesday news conference.

People who aren’t fully vaccinated — including children — need to continue wearing masks in all indoor public settings, Arwady said.

“Following guidance from the CDC and the state, and recognizing how safe and effective this COVID vaccine is, the city of Chicago will no longer require masks for fully vaccinated people in most settings,” Arwady said.

The city’s health department is “strongly” recommending most businesses continue to require people to wear masks indoors, though, since most do not have the ability to check patrons’ vaccination status and many essential workers are not yet fully vaccinated, Arwady said. Unless they can check patrons’ vaccination status, they should continue to ask people to wear masks until COVID-19 capacity restrictions are lifted and Chicago is in Phase 5 of reopening, she said.

The city itself will continue to require everyone to wear masks in city buildings until Chicago is in Phase 5, Arwady said.

And everyone must wear masks in health care settings, schools, congregate settings like jails and other places under federal recommendations, Arwady said.

“Finally, please be kind,” Arwady said, noting many people will continue to wear masks for a variety of reasons.

City data shows more than 1 million Chicagoans — or 37.8 percent of all residents — have now gotten fully vaccinated. About 48.3 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot. Among Chicagoans 65 and older, about 68.7 percent have gotten at least one dose, while 59.2 percent have finished their vaccination.

The majority of Chicagoans and Illinoisans are not fully vaccinated, though: Only about 4.8 million people — or 37.85 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccination shots.

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