(The Center Square) – As COVID-19 transmission rates fall in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his mask mandate may come to an end before the holidays.
At a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, Pritzker said lifting the mask mandate before Thanksgiving is an important marker for his administration.
“We have three holidays coming up, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, where people spend extended amounts of time together, so we would like very much to get to a place where we can remove certain mask mandates,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker did not offer any specific metrics the state will use to determine when to lift the mask mandate for indoor public places, which has been in place since August.
Ted Dabrowski, president of the nonprofit Wirepoints, said it behooves the people who are implementing mandates to be the ones to prove that they are worthwhile.
“Twenty months into this, we don’t need to be operating under governor mandates,” Dabrowski said. “It is either the legislature acts or the governor stops acting.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday reported 1,327 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, the lowest daily case total since July 26.
The state is also making a push for those 65 and older and other vulnerable residents to get booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccines.
IDPH is partnering with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department on Aging to increase education around boosters and provide support to skilled nursing facilities as they work to administer boosters to residents.
“AARP Illinois urges all eligible residents to get vaccines and booster shots to ensure they stay protected from the deadly coronavirus and put an end to this pandemic once and for all,” AARP Illinois President Bob Gallo said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a booster shot for the Pfizer vaccine on September 23. The CDC is set to review booster recommendations for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines this week.
As of Oct. 12, IDPH reported 18% of Illinois residents aged 65 and older had received a booster shot.