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Chicago mask mandate violations lead to at least 30 citations against businesses

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Water Tower

The majority of shoppers wear masks at the Water Tower on Aug. 17, when Chicago officials said an indoor mask mandate would be reinstated on Aug. 20.

At least 30 citations have been issued to Chicago businesses for flouting the indoor mask mandate, the city announced.

Most recently, the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department issued 10 citations for failing to follow the masking requirements from last Thursday to Sunday, according to a Tuesday news release. One business was given a warning and, in total, BACP did 110 investigations during that time frame.

Chicago has been mandating that anyone age 2 or older wear masks indoors since Aug. 20, shortly after COVID-19 cases broke into the higher risk category of more than 400 per day. That surge has been driven by the more contagious delta variant.

In rolling out the indoor mask mandate, BACP had said it would at first aim to educate before punishing, but “egregious” violations could lead to a citation.

The first weekend of the mask mandate, eight businesses were given warnings for breaking the rules, while during the second weekend, five businesses were cited.

From Aug. 20 to 29, a total 20 citations were issued and 16 warnings were given. Among the businesses found to have ignored the mask mandate were nightclubs, grocery stores, restaurants and more.

Public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has said the mask mandate would be lifted after cases dip below 400 per day for at least a week, but more restrictions could arrive if the pandemic trends the other way for Chicago.

The city’s COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday marked the first time the average number of new cases has dropped below 400 since Aug. 7, but some health officials are concerned that Labor Day weekend travel could contribute to another uptick.

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