Pritzker to announce phasing out of Illinois indoor mask mandate – NBC Chicago
As coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations continue to fall, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is expected to unveil a plan on Wednesday to drop the state’s indoor mask mandate, sources tell Mary Ann Ahern from NBC 5.
According to sources with knowledge of the announcement, the governor will announce a phased plan to drop the indoor mask mandate in most settings, but that plan will not include repealing the mask mandate in public schools.
It’s unclear when the warrant will be removed completely, but sources tell NBC 5 the plan is to have the warrant dropped by March 1.
At one point, the state was averaging over 32,000 cases a day from the omicron variant COVID. In less than a month, that number dropped to an average of 5,825 cases per day, a level not seen since the omicron surge began.
The governor said hospitalization cuts would be key to removing the mandate, and after peaking at more than 7,300 COVID hospitalizations, there are now fewer than 3,000 currently COVID-positive patients in Illinois hospitals.
Sources tell NBC 5 that Pritzker hopes to give schools more time before removing their mask mandates.
The development comes as Pritzker continues to fight a legal challenge to his mask mandate for Illinois schools. A temporary restraining order was issued last week by a Sangamon County judge that barred certain school districts from enforcing the requirement.
Pritzker said he plans to appeal the ruling, calling it “out of step with the vast majority of legal analysis.”
We’ll know more about this story as it develops.