Business, Healthcare Groups Urge Use of Face Masks

July 15, 2020

A diverse coalition of business and healthcare groups, including IHA, is urging Illinoisans to wear face masks when in public to save lives and protect the state’s economy. The groups today issued a joint press release on the issue, noting that the number of Illinoisans infected with COVID-19 and hospitalization rates has increased since the state moved to Phase 4 in late June and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and numerous public health studies have demonstrated that masks are effective in slowing the spread of the virus by as much as 85%.

“We are now seeing a dramatic and troubling surge in COVID-19 cases in many states, including some of our neighboring states, as well as an uptick in Illinois, threatening to erase the hard-won gains we have made in battling the pandemic,” said IHA President & CEO A. J. Wilhelmi. “That’s why hospitals that are on the frontlines providing life-saving care and supporting the reopening of our economy urge everyone to take a simple and proven step to help stop the spread of the virus – wear a face mask. Together, by protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors, we will get through this.”

“Wearing masks is not a Republican issue or Democrat issue – it’s a public health issue and a jobs issue. We must unite for the sake of our families, businesses, and our communities,” said Mark Denzler, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We are facing the worst economic and health crisis in generations and every Illinoisan can wear a mask to help slow the spread of the pandemic. If we do not act strongly and quickly, we’ll see manufacturing facilities close and supply chain reductions that will impact consumers across the globe.”

“Retailers must interact with customers every single day and wearing a mask protects both the workers and customers,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “Wearing a mask is a small act that will literally save lives and help protect one of the state’s largest economic engines. One case of COVID-19 can shut down a restaurant, movie theatre, or grocery store for weeks, threatening lives and livelihoods.”