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Chicago’s mask and vaccine mandates will end on February 28

Patrons will no longer be required to wear a mask or show their vax card when entering most public spaces.

Emma Krupp
Written by
Emma Krupp

You soon won't have to wear a mask or present your vaccine card to enter most public spaces in Chicago anymore, city officials announced Tuesday afternoon. Starting February 28, Chicago will officially lift its mask mandate and vaccine requirements for restaurants, bars, gyms and indoor settings where food is served. 

“Based on key data, it looks as if the worst of the Omicron surge is behind us and we will be able to safely remove these emergency measures instituted to protect the health and safety of our residents,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press release. 

The announcement follows Gov. J.B. Pritzker's previously announced plans to end the Illinois mask mandate on the same date. Earlier in the month, it remained unclear whether Chicago—which has a separate mask mandate—would follow in the state's footsteps, as the Chicago Department of Health instead opted to wait until the city had seen declines in four key Covid-19 metrics for two weeks. As of February 21, Chicago has entered the requisite “lower” risk range for three of the four categories; in a statement, officials from the Mayor's Office said the one lagging category (lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases, which, at 283 cases per day, is above the “lower” risk range of 20-199 cases per day) was “offset by the much higher testing and very low-test positivity.” 

“This doesn’t mean COVID is gone, it simply means transmission levels are lower than they have been during surges,” CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in the release. 

Still, don't get ready to ditch all your face coverings just yet: Per federal regulations, you'll still need to mask up in health care settings and government buildings, as well as while riding public transit. CDPH will continue to require mask usage for 6–10 days after the mandatory 5-day quarantine for Covid-19 infection. And of course, individual businesses may still require mask usage and proof of vaccination, as some did prior to the the introduction of either Chicago mandate.

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