Face Mask FAQs
On May 17, 2021, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2021-10 that aligns with the latest CDC guidance and rescinds emergency rules requiring face masks for fully vaccinated individuals.
For more information on resuming activities if you’ve been fully vaccinated, visit the CDC’s guidance.
Links to the translated versions of this FAQ
- Face Mask Requirements
- What does it mean to wear a face mask?
- Do I have to wear a mask in public?
- Do I still have to wear a mask if I’m not fully vaccinated?
- Are there circumstances when masks are still required even if I’ve been vaccinated?
- Do I have to wear a mask on the bus or a train?
- Will I have to prove that I’m vaccinated?
- Can a store or business turn me away if I do not have a face mask?
Face Mask Requirements
What does it mean to wear a face mask?
A face mask should be well secured and cover your nose and mouth. The face mask should allow for breathing without restriction. There is no requirement to wear a hospital grade mask or other specific type or brand of face covering. You may wear a homemade face mask, provided that it fits closely and covers your nose and mouth. For more specific information on how to make or care for your face covering, please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) website: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/mask-use.
Do I have to wear a mask in public?
In accordance with CDC guidance, fully vaccinated individuals can stop wearing a mask and practicing social distancing in most indoor and outdoor settings. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask and social distance in public settings.
Do I still have to wear a mask if I’m not fully vaccinated?
Individuals who are NOT fully vaccinated and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance are still required to cover your nose and mouth with a face mask. This requirement applies to indoor spaces, such as stores, as well as public outdoor spaces where maintaining a six-foot social distance is not always possible.
Are there circumstances when masks are still required even if I’ve been vaccinated?
The CDC continues to require masks for everyone in healthcare settings, in congregate settings and on public transit. In addition, in line with CDC guidance, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and IDPH require masks in schools. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) requires masks in daycare. The CDC recommends that individuals with immunocompromising conditions, including those taking immunosuppressive medications, discuss the need for personal protective measures with their healthcare provider after vaccination.
Do I have to wear a mask on the bus or a train?
Yes. Masks are still required on public transit, such as a bus, train or airplane.
Will I have to prove that I’m vaccinated?
The State of Illinois is not currently requiring proof of vaccination for any activities and is relying on individuals to mask as suggested under CDC and state guidance. Private businesses may develop systems that require proof of vaccination.
Can a store or business turn me away if I do not have a face mask?
Yes. A store or business can generally prohibit you from entering the building if you do not have a face mask, even if you have been vaccinated, in order to protect the health of others. However, if you have a medical condition or disability that prevents you from safely wearing a face mask, then you should speak with a store employee about a reasonable accommodation to help you obtain the services you need without endangering your health or the health of other shoppers.
Can a business require that I remove my face mask in order to check my identity?
Yes. There are certain circumstances when you may be required by a business to temporarily remove your face mask for the purpose of checking identification, such as if you are purchasing alcohol, cannabis, or certain medicine.
What if I have a medical condition or disability that prevents me from wearing a face-covering?
If you have a medical condition or disability that prevents you from safely wearing a face mask, you cannot be required to wear one. However, if you are unable to wear one, you should take extra precautions to protect yourself and others from contracting COVID-19.
What if an employee asks me to remove my face mask because the employee believes I look “suspicious?”
It is a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act for a business to take actions or profile a person based on factors such as their race, national origin, religion, or disability. Individuals who believe they have been profiled by a place of public accommodation, such as a business, can contact IDHR to file a discrimination charge by visiting www.illinois.gov/dhr or by calling (312) 814-4320 or (866) 740-3953 (TTY).
Can a business impose different face mask requirements based on race, national origin, religion, or age?
No. A business must treat all people equally, without regard to certain protected bases such as their race, national origin, religion, or age. Individuals who believe they have been treated differently because of one or more protected bases can contact IDHR to file a discrimination charge by visiting www.illinois.gov/dhr or by calling (312) 814-4320 or (866) 740-3953 (TTY).