Starting Wednesday, August 26, patrons at Illinois restaurants and bars will have to wear a mask at all times while interacting with staff, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. That includes while ordering food, speaking with waitstaff and picking up takeout. Like before, guests can remove their masks to eat and drink—just be sure to keep it nearby.
Illinois residents have been required to wear face coverings in public since May 1, but the new requirement is meant to better protect restaurant servers and staff, many of whom have raised concerns about virus exposure while on the job. In July, for instance, WBEZ reported on a Chicago Restaurant Workers survey that found 70 percent of restaurant employees don't feel safe around customers. In the press conference, Pritzker said that the expanded face covering rules will help limit transmission for both workers and patrons.
"It's important that we treat hospitality employees just as you would in any retail store or establishment," Pritzker noted. "This new requirement asks a little bit more of our residents dining out in order to protect their health and safety and that of our front-line hospitality workers."
New restaurant signage and guidance is already available online on the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity website, so you can expect to see that at your favorite dining establishments shortly. Pull that mask up and over your nose and remember to tip generously.
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