Metro East businesses implement new state mask mandate


ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Mo. – Everyone ages 2 and up must now mask up in Illinois, regardless of vaccination status. Businesses in the Metro East are implementing the new statewide mandate.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker reinstated the mask mandate after saying the delta variant of COVID-19 is infecting so many people that the state is running out of time as hospitals are running out of beds.

The new order requires residents to wear face coverings in indoor settings regardless of their vaccination status. Masks can be taken off briefly to eat or drink and in workplaces where workers can stay at least six feet apart. Masks are not required outdoors but are strongly encouraged in crowded outdoor settings.

Illinois restaurants and other businesses have been down this road before, requiring customers to wear masks before entering.

“Some of the business owners I have talked to, they are not happy with it but I think they’ve realized that the science is working with people wearing the masks and practicing social distancing,” St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency Director Herb Simmons said. “You know, the businesses have a responsibility and they have a right to ask you to follow these orders because it helps their employees, you know? It helps their other customers and I hope the people continue to support those businesses.”

The executive order also included new requirements for education and healthcare workers to be vaccinated.

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