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You Still Have To Wear Masks On The CTA — But It Could Drop Rule Soon, Lightfoot Says

Gov. JB Pritzker has an executive order that requires masking on public transit. It's in place through at least April, though that could be extended.

Passengers board and depart from a Blue Line train at the CTA Jackson Blue Line station in the Loop on Feb. 25, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — People must still wear masks when on public transportation in Chicago and when at travel hubs, the city’s top doctor said Tuesday.

A federal judge on Monday struck down a federal rule that required people to wear masks on public transportation, including when at airports or on buses and trains. But Dr. Allison Arwady, head of Chicago’s health department, said the city and state have separate rules that still require people to mask up on public transportation.

“At least in the short term here, we are legally covered and masks do remain required on the CTA,” Arwady said during a Tuesday livestream.

The CTA could soon end masking on trains and buses, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a City Club appearance, according to the Tribune’s Greg Pratt. Further details were not immediately available.

But Gov. JB Pritzker has an executive order that requires masking on public transit. It’s in place through at least April, though that could be extended, Arwady said.

That means people must wear masks on buses, trains and other forms of public transportation — including the Metra and CTA, Arwady said. People must also wear masks at train stations and other hubs.

Individual airlines have been updating their own rules for what travelers must do once they’re actually in the air.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that people wear masks indoors when in public transportation settings.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 8.2 million people — or 64.57 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 18,077 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 21,695,861 vaccine doses of the 26,423,645 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.8 million Chicagoans — or 68.8 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 77.4 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

The numbers:

• Since Monday, 20 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.

• At least 33,537 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 4,293 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 2,471 cases since Monday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 3,102,711.

• Since Monday, 36,735 tests were reported statewide. In all, 58,527,934 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• The state is reporting an average of 126 confirmed cases per day per 100,000 people. That average was at 120 on Monday.

• As of Monday night, 73 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 36 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, 14 deaths were reported since Monday. There have been at least 7,355 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of zero people dying per day.

• Chicago has had 418 confirmed cases reported since Monday. It’s had a total of 574,408 confirmed cases. An average of 456 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 8 percent from a week ago.

• Testing in Chicago is down 57 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 5.4 percent, up from 2.1 percent a week ago.

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