Illinois will remain under a stay-at-home order until at least the end of May, as Governor JB Pritzker extends social distancing guidelines in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The extended order, which takes effect May 1, aims to ease up on restrictions across the state. However, Illinoisans will be required to wear a face mask in public when social distancing isn't an option.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has released guidance on the use of masks by the general public.
STOPPING THE SPREAD
As public health experts continue to learn about the novel coronavirus, they believe the virus is spread between close contact via respiratory droplets produced when people cough, sneeze, or talk; or by contact with contaminated surfaces. While staying home, social distancing and strict hand hygiene are still preferred methods of preventing further spread of COVID-19, facemasks are one more tool health experts now believe will help protect the general public. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention originally advised against the use of face masks for healthy people, research increasingly suggests coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. The CDC has updated these guidelines, taking into consideration how face masks affect transmission.
WHO SHOULD WEAR A MASK
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone wear cloth face coverings in public where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores, pharmacies and other public settings where community-based transmission is significant.
CDC officials say the use of a simple face covering can help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.