Government Regulations and Mandates
Mask and Vaccination Requirements End February 28, 2022
With a few exceptions, State and County mandates for mask-wearing indoors and proof of vaccination at restaurants, entertainment venues, etc. ended on February 28, 2022. These changes apply to the Village of Niles.
As of February 28, 2022:
- Masks are no longer required indoors and at businesses in Illinois and Cook County – including Niles.
- Masks are optional for all Village employees and all visitors to all Village-owned facilities. (Niles Fire Department EMS personnel will continue to wear appropriate masks and protective equipment on calls).
- Proof of vaccination is no longer required at restaurants, entertainment venues, fitness facilities, etc. in Cook County – including Niles.
- Exceptions that still require masks due to CDC guidelines and State law include:
- Health care settings
- Public Transportation (including Niles Free Bus)
- Congregate care facilities
These changes are being made at the State and County level and apply to the Village of Niles; the Village does not have any additional or alternate mandates at this time.
Read the following press releases from the State and County regarding the lifting of mask and vaccination orders:
Cook County Vaccine Order Requiring Proof of Vaccination Effective January 3, 2022
In response to the current COVID-19 surge of cases and hospitalizations in suburban Cook County, Cook County Dept. of Public Health issued a new mitigation order for its suburban Cook County jurisdiction on December 23, 2021.
Specifically, the order calls for proof of vaccination for customers of indoor settings where food or drink are served for on-premises consumption, like restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, and in fitness facilities. The order will go into effect on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Under the order, businesses must display signage about the mitigations at every entrance and prominently within the facility. Businesses must develop a written protocol with details for how they will check vaccine status and how they will enforce this order. CCDPH will post sample language for this written protocol to its website.
The order applies to anywhere people would take masks off to eat or drink, including grocery stores or other venues with small cafes, or entertainment venues, which serve food or drink, along with recreation and fitness facilities.
There are exceptions in the order. It does not apply to schools or houses of worship, nor to patrons taking food or drinks to go, who would be in a restaurant or market for less than 10 minutes. The order does not apply to communities, which have their own departments of health such as Skokie, Evanston and Oak Park.
The Cook County Department of Public Health also added clarifying language that the following are exempt from the order:
- An individual 18 years of age or younger who enters a business subject to this Order to participate in an activity sponsored by a school, park district, child care or after-school program, or other organizations as defined in guidance by the Cook County Department of Public Health
- Youth or adults participating in special recreation programs
- Spectators of indoor sporting events provided that no food or drink is being served and that they remain masked at all time
Businesses violating these orders will be subject to inspection and possible fines for violations. Cook County Dept. of Public Health co-lead Dr. Rachel Rubin said inspections would be complaint-based. She said multiple complaints about an individual business could be referred to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Notifications would also be made to the municipalities the violating businesses are located in.
County officials said many restaurants have already introduced these protective measures; this order will provide clarity to businesses and patrons throughout CCDPH’s jurisdiction in most of suburban Cook County.
Fitness centers include settings like health clubs, yoga studios, group fitness classes, recreation centers, and dance studios. Entertainment venues include movie theaters, concert venues, live theater, and music spaces, sports arenas, bowling alleys, and arcades. Patrons in these facilities must remain masked and physically distant when possible, county officials said.
Complete information about the new requirement is available on the Cook County Department of Public Health web site.
Cook County Mask Mandate Begins August 23, 2021
Effective August 23, 2021, 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.
Phase 5: "Illinois Restored"
Phase 5 of the "Restore Illinois" plan begins on Friday, June 11, 2021. Capacity limits for most businesses are removed in Phase 5.
From the State of Illinois Coronavirus Response website:
"What This Phase Looks Like: Testing, tracing and treatment are widely available throughout the state. Either a vaccine is developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a treatment option is readily available that ensures health care capacity is no longer a concern, or there are no new cases over a sustained period. All sectors of the economy reopen with new health and hygiene practices permanently in place. Large gatherings of all sizes can resume. Public health experts focus on lessons learned and building out the public health infrastructure needed to meet and overcome future challenges. Heath care equity is made a priority to improve health outcomes and ensure vulnerable communities receive the quality care they deserve."
The series of stay-at-home orders, the phases of the "Restore Illinois," and the tiers of additional mitigation are complex and change frequently. The Village of Niles will share the most critical updates as they become available, but encourages the public to access official State resources for the most up-to-date details.
For complete information about Restore Illinois phases and the COVID-19 situation, please visit the State of Illinois Coronavirus web page at coronavirus.illinois.gov.