Pritzker reinstates mask mandate, mandates vaccine for teachers, healthcare workers


SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (NEXSTAR) – Governor Pritzker announced Thursday that he will be reinstating the mask mandate, and all teachers from preschool to High school, as well as healthcare workers will be required to get vaccinated.

That includes staff at long term care facilities and nursing homes.

Those with medical or religious reasons for not getting the vaccine must submit to weekly COVID testing.

The latest of the Governor’s COVID prevention measures comes as the state is seeing a spike in Delta Variant cases. ICU bed availability is down across the state, with Southern and Central Illinois hospitals getting hit the hardest.

“The quick spread of this disease in Illinois and across the country is holding us all back from the post-pandemic life we so desperately want to embrace, and it’s harming the most vulnerable among us,” said Governor JB Pritzker.“We are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds. Vaccination remains our strongest tool to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to restore post-pandemic life to our communities, and most crucially, to maintain our healthcare system’s ability to care for anyone who walks through their doors in need of help – and Illinois is taking action to keep our communities safe.”

The mask mandate goes into effect Monday morning. Masks will be required in all indoor spaces in the state, just like they were through the majority of the pandemic.

Pritzker said the state is not currently looking at capacity limits or any of the other lockdown measures from earlier in the pandemic, but said they could show up if the numbers get much worse.

While the requirements for getting out of previous shutdowns relied on case numbers and positivity rates, Pritzker and Dr. Ezike said they will be monitoring hospitalizations and ICU bed availability for deciding when this mask mandate could end.

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