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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday a planned end date for Illinois’ mask mandate.

Pritzker revealed that he aims to have the indoor mask mandate lifted by Feb. 28. However, it will not apply to the “sensitive locations” of K-12 schools.

Governor Pritzker revealed the details of ending the indoor mask mandate during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

“We are now seeing the fastest rate of decline in our COVID-19 hospitalization metrics since the pandemic began. If these trends continue — and we expect them to —then on Monday, February 28th, we will lift the indoor mask requirement for the State of Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I want to be clear: Many local jurisdictions, businesses and organizations have their own mask requirements and other mitigations that must be respected. Throughout this pandemic, we’ve deployed the tools available to us as needed. Our approach has saved lives and kept our economy open and growing.”

“While masks will no longer be required in most indoor locations beginning February 28, they are still recommended,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “Masks offer a layer of protection and for people who have an underlying health condition or who are around those who do, you may choose to continue wearing a mask.  Similarly, if you find yourself in a crowded, indoor setting, a mask can still help protect you.  We will continue to recommend masks.”

WGN Investigates reported Tuesday that easing restrictions would likely happen in stages with requirements for masking in most indoor public places fully lifted by March 1. This would exclude schools, as the state appealed last week’s ruling that struck down that part of the mandate.

Illinois is one of nine states that still required masks inside public places. Federal requirements, in effect through at least March 18, include masks on all transportation systems such as airports, planes, trains, and buses.

Pritzker previously said lifting the mandate would depend on how low the state’s Covid hospitalizations are.