Starting Thursday morning Evanston residents will be required to wear cloth face coverings when they work in or patronize local businesses.

The order was issued this evening by Health and Human Services Director Ike Ogbo and brings Evanston into line with several nearby communities, including Glenview, Highland Park, Skokie and Wilmette that have recently issued such orders.

In a news release, Mayor Steve Hagerty said city officials had been reluctant to issue a mask order, given that neither the federal Centers for Disease Control nor the state has established such a recommendation.

Hagerty says anyone violating the face covering order may be fined and that a business may refuse admission or service to anybody who doesn’t wear one.

Hagerty says he realizes that adopting the order won’t necessarily mean everyone will comply, but that abiding by the order will reduce the spread of the highly contagious virus — saving more lives and leading to a quicker recovery for the economy.

He says that the order does not require people who are engaging in outdoor physical activities like walking, running or biking to wear a mask.

And he notes that “any type of cloth that covers your nose and mouth” will comply with the order and that the CDC and the state health department recommend reserving medical grade masks and N-95 respirators for health care workers and emergency responders.

Related story

Shopping in Skokie? You’ll need a mask (4/16/20)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. Recommending and requiring

      Recommending and requiring are not the same thing. I’m fine with individual business requiring customers to wear face coverings. I’m not okay with the City of Evanston requiring it — or with the Mayor encouraging citizens to monitor and report one another, which he did in his recent email.

      Mr. Hagerty’s rationale for issuing this order? Other cities around us are doing it, and the head of the city health dept thinks it’s a good idea. 

      We have surprisingly little information about where Evanston residents are contracting the virus. Is there reason to believe it’s spreading because of contact in essential businesses?

      If face coverings had been required early on, or if more businesses were opening and coverings were a requirement of using a business, as a precaution as we expand people’s activities, then the move might be logical. But why now? Seems like a move to give folks a false sense of safety.

  1. What is the proposed fine

    What is the proposed fine amount? Where is the offical text of the order?

    Thank you.

    1. Fine and text

      Hi Dani,

      The official text of the order can be found here.

      It provides for fines ranging from $20 to $750.

      — Bill

      1. Silly. Sounds like the City’s

        Silly. Sounds like the City’s way of making up for lost revenue elsewhere (e.g., parking tickets).

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