Forest Preserve District program attendees and facility visitors will be required to wear face masks, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, starting Monday, August 30, per the new mask mandate from Gov. JB Pritzker.
The Forest Preserve's mask requirement will include indoor and outdoor program participants as well as students who attend Forest Preserve District field trips.
Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the mask mandate for all Illinois residents over the age of 2 was warranted because COVID-19 and hospitalization rates in the state are continuing to increase and "countless studies have demonstrated the efficacy of masks at preventing the spread of COVID-19."
According to a press release issued by the state on Thursday, August 26, "The quick spread of this disease in Illinois and across the country is holding us all back from the post-pandemic life we so desperately want to embrace, and it’s harming the most vulnerable among us,” Pritzker said. “We are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds."
The state's mask mandate is for indoor settings; however, the Forest Preserve is requiring masks for outdoor programs based on Centers for Disease Control recommendations for crowded outdoor gatherings.
The District will continue to monitor health recommendations as they evolve and make further changes when necessary. Updates will be posted here.
For more information on COVID-19 in Will County, visit the Will County Health Department's website.
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