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Rising COVID-19 Case Counts, Highly Contagious Delta Variant Force Remediation Action

Forest Park, IL – Aug. 20, 2021 – The Cook County Department of Public Health today announced that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors, beginning on Monday, Aug. 23. The order (below) requires that all people above age two who can medically tolerate a mask to wear one in multi-unit residential buildings and public places, such as restaurants, movie theaters, retail establishments, fitness clubs, and on public transportation.

“We are in a dangerous period, with the Delta variant surging, during which we must return to previous remediation measures,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, Co-Lead and Senior Medical Officer of Cook County Department of Public Health. “We have no choice but to mandate that people wear masks indoors to help contain this spread of the virus.”

According to the order, businesses will be required to post signage that states that masks are required. CCDPH has created a sign that can be posted by employers and it can be found on the CCDPH website at: https://cookcountypublichealth.org/ccdph-covid-19-communications/

“As the virus changes, we need to adapt our guidance and recommendations to keep residents safe,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi, Co-Lead and Senior Medical Officer of Cook County Department of Public Health. “This variant is highly contagious and represents over 90 percent of our recent cases. We must act now.”

ORDER OF THE COOK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH

No. 2021-10

COVID-19 MITIGATION

Effective: August 23, 2021

WHEREAS, On January 27, 2020, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services declared that COVID-19, a respiratory illness spread by close contact through respiratory droplets, presents a public health emergency, and the World Health Organization characterized the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

WHEREAS, The Cook County Department of Public Health is the Illinois certified local health department for suburban Cook County, Illinois, with the exception of Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park, and Stickney Township, serving 127 municipalities.

WHEREAS, The Cook County Department of Public Health is responsible for determining when a danger to the public health exists within its jurisdiction, and to order measures deemed necessary to protect the public health until such time that the danger to the public health is eliminated or reduced in such a manner that an immediate threat no longer exists.

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Cook County, Illinois, Code of Ordinances Sec. 38-33(b), a law enforcement officer with proper jurisdiction shall be authorized to enforce orders issued by the Cook County Department of Public Health with respect to public health measures and shall assist in enforcing such orders.

WHEREAS, The Cook County Department of Public Health has determined that mitigation measures are necessary to protect the public health.

NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority delegated to it by the Illinois Department of Public Health pursuant to the Illinois Public Health Act (20 ILCS 2305/1.1 et seq.); the Illinois Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law (20 ILCS 2310/2310-15 et seq.); and the Cook County, Illinois, Code of Ordinances (Chapter 38, Article II et seq.), the Cook County Department of Public Health hereby directs and orders:

All Businesses and Individuals

  • Any individual aged two and older and able to medically tolerate a mask shall be required to wear a mask when indoors in a public place, regardless of vaccination status.
  • For the purposes of this Order, indoor public spaces include any common or shared space in: (1) a residential multi-unit building or (2) any non-residential building, including but not limited to retail stores, restaurants, bars/taverns, health and fitness clubs, museums, hotels, personal services, performance venues, movie theaters, commercial buildings, event venues, healthcare settings, congregate facilities, on public transportation and in transportation hubs.
  • Mask refers to a complete and tight knit fabric or cloth, or medical mask that is appropriately sized for the individual’s face to snuggly cover the nasal openings and mouth without the necessity of being held in place by the individual’s hands.
  • All businesses open to public must post signage, in a form and size approved by CCDPH, advising patrons and staff that masks are required to be worn on the premises. Such signage must be posted at all entrances to the premises as well as prominently posted in an area visible to patrons and staff within the establishment.
  • Masks may be removed at restaurants, bars and other eating/drinking establishments by patrons when they are actively eating/drinking while stationary. Masks can also be removed for certain activities that require their removal, such as beard shaves or facials.

Exemptions

  • Free exercise of religion. This Order does not limit the free exercise of religion. To protect the health and safety of faith leaders, staff, congregants and visitors, religious organizations and houses of worship are strongly encouraged to consult and follow CDC recommendations for Communities of Faith. Religious organizations are strongly encouraged to take steps to ensure social distancing, and implementation of other public health measures.
  • Governmental functions. This Order does not apply to the United States government and does not affect services provided by the State or any municipal, township, county, subdivision or agency of government needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies or to provide for or support the health, safety and welfare of the public.

In addition to any other penalty provided by law, violations of this Order shall be subject to the penalties as set forth in the Cook County, Illinois, Code of Ordinances Sec. 38-38.

This Order repeals and replaces Cook County Department of Public Health Order 2021-9.

Nothing in this Order shall, in any way, alter or modify the legal authority of the State or any county, or local government body.

If any provision of this Order or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, this invalidity does not affect any other provision or application of this Order, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application. To achieve this purpose, the provisions of this Order are declared to be severable. This Order is meant to be read consistently with any Court order regarding this Order.

This Direction and Order by the Cook County Department of Public Health shall remain in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency as declared by United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, or until such time the Cook County Department of Public Health makes a written determination that the threat to public safety has diminished to the point that this Order can be safely repealed.

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