Governor Pushes for Face Mask Compliance

Aug. 7, 2020

This morning, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) will file emergency rules for businesses, schools, and child care establishments on the use of face coverings and the size of gatherings. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will consider the emergency rules next Tuesday.

“As I’ve visited with and listened to mayors and health departments all across our state, it’s clear there is still an even greater need to get people to wear masks – especially to protect frontline workers, whether they’re at the front of a store asking you to put on your mask or whether they’re responding to 911 calls to save those in distress,” said Governor Pritzker. “These rules, which provide multiple opportunities for compliance before any penalty is issued, are a commonsense way to enforce public health guidelines. Illinois has made substantial progress in our fight against COVID-19 because the vast majority of communities and business owners have done the right thing. These rules will help ensure that the minority of people who refuse to act responsibly won't take our state backward.”

The Governor says the proposed rules establish a multi-step process before any penalty is issued, as follows:

  • First, businesses will be given a warning in the form of written notice and encouraged to voluntarily comply with public health guidance.
  • Second, businesses that do not voluntarily comply will be given an order to have some or all of their patrons leave the premises as needed to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks.
  • Third, if the business continues to refuse to comply, the business can receive a class A misdemeanor and be subject to a fine ranging from $75 to $2,500.

The rules do not apply to individuals, and penalties will not exceed a misdemeanor and a $75 to $2,500 fine.

The Governor also announced that he has signed Senate Bill 471 (Public Act 101-0651), which adds a penalty for assaulting or battering a retail worker who is conveying public health guidance, such as requiring patrons to wear face coverings or promoting social distancing. The new law, which takes effect immediately, also increases paid disability leave for any injury that occurs after March 9, 2020 by 60 days for firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics whose recovery was hindered by COVID-19.