Illinois now requires face masks be worn

Madisyn Groth, staff writer

Since the Coronavirus outbreak began, many people have been taking their own precautions. In the beginning, officials said masks were only efficient if you were sick to stop the spread. Although, lots of people took the initiative to wear them out in public even if they weren’t sick. Since then, officials have now said people should wear a mask if going out, and as of May 1, Illinois will be requiring face masks when you go out in public.

The mandate is a part of an amended statewide stay-at-home order which began May 1 and goes through May 30. The rule requires people to cover their faces in public especially when social distancing isn’t required. The rule applies to anyone over the age of 2.

Face masks are an efficient way to stop the spread of the Coronavirus but they must be worn right. Masks should cover the nose and mouth with exceptions of small gaps in places where the mask may not fit right. Freshman Luis Gutierrez at Joliet West High School has a mother who is a nurse fighting on the frontlines during all of this. He says, “ I think it is very necessary. Any precaution we can take that has the potential to help minimize the spread and keep us safe is essential. Face masks become essential when one of the biggest ways the virus is spread is from people coughing and breathing in open areas.”

Pritzker says enforcement will be on a local level. Police officers are encouraged to stop people and remind them to wear a mask if they are not wearing them. Officers will not be arresting or fining anybody who is not wearing a mask.

 CDC guidelines say cloth masks should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage.

Lots of people are making homemade masks rather than buying them. A local woman has started a small company making masks. It is called Green House Masks by Sandi Green. She sews masks every day and gives them out for free. She can be reached at sjkestner@gmail.com.

A concluding statement from Governor Pritzker, “Look, anything that we can do going forward, that will protect people and at the same time make it more likely that we can have slightly, you know, different conditions for stay-at-home, better conditions, is a good move.” Remember to keep practicing social distancing and wash your hands. Now, add a mask into that mix. Stay safe everyone.