Masks… they’re not just for indoors anymore!
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said that residents are required, not encouraged, but required, to wear masks even when outside in public places, such as on the street and in parks.
“Even outside, if you’re outside and walking around and can’t maintain social distance – which by the way, on a typical busy street in the city of Chicago, you can’t maintain social distance without a mask, you just can’t. People walking by each other that you’re coming in close proximity to, someone who, by the way, is facing you and people in front of you who might be aspirating or they might be coughing or, you know, sneezing or whatever – those particles remain in the air. And if you don’t wear a mask, and if they’re not wearing a mask, then there is a much easier ability to transmit the virus.”
He has a point. Walking on a busy street, you can’t stay six feet from people. But what if you’re not on a busy street? What if someone else walks close to you? In Pritzker’s world, wear a mask no matter what. And since he’s the governor, he carries a big stick. He said the mask regulation applies in rural areas as well, and that businesses, schools, and other facilities face a $2,500 fine for non-compliance.
So far, there’s no fine for individuals not wearing masks, just public shaming, and reminders from authorities. But Pritzker would like to change that.
“People who refuse to wear a mask, people who are entering public premises where they know they’re supposed to wear a mask and who have been reminded, and who aren’t – those people certainly should be, you know, reminded again by police and ultimately, if they’re absolutely refusing in public, they’re putting other people at risk. So it’s worthy of considering fine at a local level.”
Pritzker clearly is worried about the health of his residents, but with people already aware of the pandemic, he might do well to turn his attention to another issue in his state. 46 people were shot in Chicago last weekend, part of the trend that has pushed homicides up by almost 140% over the last year.