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Mask mandate starts in Illinois, teachers to be required to get COVID-19 vaccine

You need to wear a mask in indoor public places in Illinois.

GRAFTON, Ill. — A state-wide mask mandate goes into effect in Illinois Monday. 

Everyone in the state over the age of 2 is required to wear a mask in indoor spaces, regardless of whether or not they’ve gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

All but one of Illinois’ counties are considered high transmission areas for COVID-19 as of August 27 at noon. Stephenson County in the northern region of the state is considered to be one level less severe, a ‘Substantial Risk’. 

In Grafton, local tourists pour in on weekends and holidays to go boating or visit outdoor venues. 

Indoor restaurants in Grafton, like the Grafton Pub, are worried about how this will affect business when people can choose to go to outdoor establishments instead to avoid masking up. 

The 5 On Your Side team spoke with people in Grafton about the mask mandate.

"A lot of inside establishments are going to lose a lot of money," one man said. "I think it's a deterrent for people going out and having a good time."

A woman we spoke to said, "If that's what I've got to do to have a good time, so be it."

To get vaccination rates up, and slow the spread in schools and medical facilities, Governor Pritzker introduced the additional mandate last week. Teachers, health care workers and higher education students are required to get the coronavirus vaccine starting Sept. 5.

If they choose not to, they’ll have to submit to weekly COVID-19 tests under a new state program. 

The vaccines are required for teachers in pre-k to 12th grades. Health workers in places like hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities and physician's offices are also required to get the shot.