Illinois has reinstated their mask mandate, effective now.
A step backward that no one wanted to take, but Illinois felt was necessary.
Darrin Gottman, owner of Gottman custom jewelry in Mt. Carmel, says, “If we have to do the mask mandate, nobody's happy about it, nobody wants to wear a mask, but if this is what we have to do to stay open, this is what we'll do.”
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker mandated masks to be worn indoors to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the state.
The mandate requires mask-wearing for all residents over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status.
For Kay Collins and Debbie Jolliff, this is a practice that never stopped.
“A lot of people are just really afraid to get the shots and stuff, and if you don't get the shots, you have to take precautions, and even if you get the shots now you have to take precautions,” says Jolliff.
Jolliff and Collins own Pat’s Pawn Shop in Mt. Carmel, where indoor mask requirements were always in place.
“In the past, we've had people come in and just turn around and walk out if they have to put a mask on. But thIs time, we're offering them masks and most of them will take it,” says Jolliff.
The masks are likely to remain until cases go back down.
Collins told 44News, “I think it's going to get a lot worse, I hope not but, personally, I think it's going to get a lot worse. This is something that only God knows.”
While the face coverings are not required outdoors, state officials are still encouraging residents to mask up in crowded outdoor settings, or during close contact with anyone who is not vaccinated.
Another new mandate, all school staff throughout the state will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes school staff in all K-12 facilities as well as staff in higher education facilities like colleges and universities, according to Governor Pritzker.
The new vaccine requirement will also apply to all healthcare workers, like those in nursing homes, hospitals, urgent care, and doctors' offices.
Gov. Pritzker says that as of Sept. 5, any of those individuals who are still unvaccinated will be required to be tested for COVID-19 at least once a week, and that more frequent testing may be required under certain circumstances like a COVID-19 outbreak.