Evanston’s Health & Human Services Department announced Tuesday afternoon that people, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask in public indoor spaces starting Friday.

The city’s order, officials say, aligns with mask mandates issued recently by the Cook County Department of Public Health and Chicago Department of Public Health.

It requires persons two years of age and older who are able to medically tolerate a mask to wear one in indoor public settings, including but not limited to retail establishments, fitness centers, restaurants, movie theaters, event venues and common areas of multi-unit residential buildings.

Masks can be removed for certain activities that require their removal, such as beard shaves, facials or actively eating or drinking.

The order requires businesses and other venues to post signs about the mask requirement and the city has created a sign that businesses can use.

“With an increase in COVID-19 cases both locally and nationally, combined with the threat posed by the highly contagious Delta variant, we must use every tool at our disposal to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Health & Human Services Director Ike Ogbo said in a statement. “In addition to getting vaccinated, wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces is one of the most effective ways we can protect ourselves and others.”

No expiration date has been set for the order. It will remain in place until the Health Department determines that the threat to public health has diminished sufficiently.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.