State/County COVID Mandates Ending

State/County COVID Mandates Ending

As hospitalizations from COVID continue to fall, Illinois is expected to end its five-month mask mandate for most public spaces on February 28. Cook County’s Department of Public Health has stated that it will repeal its own mask and vaccine-screening requirements at the same time, assuming that metrics continue to improve. The Chamber plans to move to a mask-optional format for its upcoming events.

The state mask mandate, implemented by Governor Pritzker on August 30, 2021, required face coverings in most public settings. On February 28, masking will still be necessary on public transit, in health care settings, at day care centers, and in congregate settings such as prisons and long-term care facilities. Federal rules still require face coverings in airports and on airplanes.

Cook County and the City of Chicago will also lift their requirements that patrons show proof of vaccination at restaurants, recreation centers, theaters, and other venues. The Village of Northbrook is subject to Cook County Health requirements. It is important to note that private businesses are still free to implement any rules they deem appropriate to protect the health of employees and customers, so long as they are administered in ways that do not discriminate against protected groups.

The Northbrook Chamber will host a number of in-person events in March, including the Annual Meeting & Awards Celebration on March 7, First Friday Networking Breakfast on March 14, and Business After Hours on March 17. Masks will be optional and proof of vaccination will not be required.  (If a venue hosting an event maintains its own mask or vaccine requirements, the Chamber will ask attendees to follow the host’s policies.) Advance registration is still required to help manage available capacity.

“The Chamber is following the lead of state and county health officials in lifting our mask and vaccine requirements,” notes Chamber President Tensley Garris. “At the same time, we encourage members to continue to follow practices that make them feel most comfortable, including mask wearing. We also ask members to respect the health of others and refrain from attending events if they feel ill. Hopefully, we are close to putting the pandemic behind us.”