Chicago reimplemented an indoor mask mandate on August 20, and businesses are already facing consequences.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot‘s office has revealed that between August 20 and August 29, 20 businesses have been cited by the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) for failure to comply, according to NBC 5 Chicago. An additional 16 businesses were also issued “notices to correct.”
“As cases continue to rise in Chicago, BACP is putting all businesses on high alert and letting them know that we will be strictly enforcing the City of Chicago mask mandate,” Lightfoot’s office said in an official statement.
Chica, at “all indoor public settings, including bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos and multi-residential buildings, and private clubs.” Masks have been required in places like public transit, hospitals, and schools since before this new mandate.
The mandate allows for the reasonable removal of masks in certain settings, such as when people need to eat or drink. Customers receiving specific services that require their face to uncovered, such as facial treatments and beard grooming, can also remove masks indoors.
A similar indoor mask mandate for the entire state of Illinois went into effect on Monday.
During the first weekend that the Chicago mandate was in effect, the BACP conducted 55 investigations of potentially offending businesses. This resulted in 16 citations and eight notices to correct. The latter notices were issued for things like failing to display signage indicating that masks would be required indoors. A further 61 investigations were conducted.
“With the highly transmissible Delta variant causing case rates to increase, now is the time to re-institute this measure to prevent further spread and save lives,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “We continue to track the data closely and are hopeful this will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve, as we’ve done in the past.”
With the Delta variant surging across the U.S., several states and territories have implemented new mask mandates regardless of vaccination status, including Oregon, Louisiana, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington state, and Washington, D.C. New York, California, Connecticut and Illinois have implemented mandates for the unvaccinated only. Cities like San Francisco, New York City, and Honolulu have begun requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for certain indoor activities.
Newsweek reached out to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office for comment but did not hear back before publication.