Illinois spends millions on campaign to convince people to wear masks

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Illinois is spending millions of dollars to convince people to wear a face mask as the coronavirus continues to spread.

After months of pleading, people still won’t wear masks. St. Clair, Perry, and Randolph counties are now considered COVID hot spots.

A new commercial is now airing launching a mask campaign. The message is simple: “It only works if you wear it.”

Governor J.B. Pritzker said he does not want to be threatening to people who don’t wear mask.

“It’s often the case people have it in their pocket, they have it with them or they have it at home and they’ve just forgotten it, and it’s time for them to remember now,” he said.

St. Clair County Health Department Executive Director Barbara Hohlt has warned people if the entire community doesn’t cooperate, Phase 3 could return; which means a return to more restrictions on businesses.

“It’s absolutely frustrating,” she said. “This the one thing we can all do to protect ourselves and each other from the virus.”

Hohlt said businesses need to enforce the mask requirement.

“Everybody’s got to do it or it’s not going to work,” she said.

John Parr, the owner of Bennie’s Pizza Pub in Belleville, is doing that. He said he’s lost customers when they see the mask sign on the front door.

“When they see the sign they go the other way,” he said. “Nobody wants to wear these masks but if it means keeping healthy, keeping business open, we should do it.”

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