Evanston is no longer requiring fully COVID-vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings or practice social distancing “in most indoor and outdoor settings” in the city.

The decision is in line with the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In a release issued today, Health and Human Services Director Ike Ogbo says “relaxing face covering requirements for fully vaccinated individuals brings us one step closer to normal, but it’s important to remember that we are still in a pandemic.”

That means those who are not fully vaccinated must still wear a face covering while in public locations when maintaining six-foot social distancing is not practical.

Further, in compliance with federal and state guidance, face coverings are still required for all people, vaccinated or not, in “health care settings, school and daycare centers, congregate settings and public transportation.”

Face coverings are also still required for everyone at all City facilities, community centers and public library locations until further notice. Masks also remain the rule for now at the Downtown Farmers’ Market and other city events and festivals.

“The City will continue to evaluate face covering requirements as the state approaches Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois recovery plan,” the release says. Phase 5, full reopening of the state’s economy, is expected to begin next month.

Evanston businesses can still require face coverings, whether patrons are vaccinated or not. The city “encourages businesses to require face coverings unless they can verify that patrons have been fully vaccinated.”

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second Moderna or Pfizer shot, or two weeks after the one-dose Johnson &. Johnson vaccine.

Evanston has a higher vaccination rate than both the State of Illinois and the U.S. As of Monday, the city says 63 percent of residents over age 12 are now fully vaccinated, 79 percent have received at least a first dose, and 96 percent of those 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

The city is holding a vaccination clinic at Blomquist Recreation Center on Friday for those ages 12 and up. On Saturday, School Districts 65 and 202 have a clinic for students, age 12 and older, at Evanston Township High School.

Advance registration is required for both events.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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