Pritzker emergency No. 23 comes as Colorado drops masks
Illinois is far from finished with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide COVID-19 mandates, but another Democratic governor just said the emergency is over and the state shouldn’t be making people wear masks anymore.
COVID-19 hospitalizations were up 40% since Dec. 1 in Illinois, so Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s being asked whether he intends to impose new restrictions.
He was vague, but another Democratic governor, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, certainly wasn’t. Polis said he’s done with mask mandates.
“The emergency is over,” Polis said Dec. 13. “You know, public health [officials] don’t get to tell people what to wear; that’s just not their job. Public health [officials] would say to always wear a mask because it decreases flu and decreases [other airborne illnesses]. But that’s not something that you require; you don’t tell people what to wear. You don’t tell people to wear a jacket when they go out in winter and force them to [wear it]. If they get frostbite, it’s their own darn fault.”
Pritzker alluded to new Illinois restrictions during a press conference Dec. 12 while encouraging residents to continue wearing masks indoors.
“We’re looking at everything that has been done over the last few years, always, but what we’re really focused on is making sure that people are following the masking requirements indoors,” Pritzker said, thanking those who have followed his orders.
Reporters pressed him, but he offered no further details. Instead, he urged local governments to “certainly look at stricter mitigations.”
Pritzker has declared all of Illinois a disaster zone 23 times, allowing him to issue executive orders with the force of law for 30 days at a time. When the current declaration expires Jan. 9, Illinois will have been under Pritzker’s mandates for 672 days without state lawmakers weighing in.
Pritzker’s orders include a statewide mandate that masks be worn indoors at public places regardless of vaccination status. Illinois is one of seven states with such a mandate.
Illinois tallied 50,000 new COVID-19 cases during the week before Dec. 14. Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate reached 5.7%.
Illinois had 7,153 cases per day on average Dec. 13, the highest statewide 7-day rolling average since a year ago.