Pritzker announces rules to help businesses enforce mask mandate

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CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker announced new COVID-19 guidelines Friday after Illinois reported more than 1,900 new virus cases.

Pritzker said his administration is filing new emergency rules to require businesses and schools to enforce the mandatory face mask rules — or be fined.

According to the governor’s office, businesses that don’t comply with the mask mandate will be given a written notice warning. If they don’t voluntarily comply, businesses will then be given an order for patrons to leave the property “as needed to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks.”

If businesses still do not comply, they can receive a class A misdemeanor, subject to a fine of $75 to $2,500.

“This is one way for us to make sure that businesses that have been scofflaws on this subject know that there is a real penalty at the end of the line here,” Pritzker said Friday.

“This proposed rule lacks common sense and is a slap in the face to the thousands of retailers who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic while actively supporting ever-changing health and safety guidelines adopted by the state. Indeed, many of the guidelines ultimately adopted by the state were modeled by retailers well before they were implemented by the state,” said Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

On May 1, the governor issued a mask mandate for most people in most public settings, but enforcement has been an issue.

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