Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to make an announcement Wednesday on the state’s mask mandate as hospitalizations and cases continue to decrease, according to a report.
Pritzker appeared in Springfield on Tuesday and said that people wondering when the state’s mask mandate would end should “stay tuned,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Pritzker said, “We’re very close,” but did not go into specifics.
The Chicago Tribune, citing sources, reported that Pritzker is expected to unveil his planned off-ramp from pandemic restrictions on Wednesday.
The upcoming announcement comes as Pritzker slammed a downstate judge’s ruling that temporarily blocks his mask and COVID-19 exclusion mandates in Illinois schools.
During an unrelated press conference Friday afternoon, a reporter asked Pritzker if there would be any changes to the indoor mask mandate as COVID-19 metrics in Illinois continue to improve.
“Look, the COVID metrics are going the right direction. I’m very pleased about that,” Pritzker said.
“I believe that we should remove masks as soon as we possibly can. I am constantly listening to the doctors and scientists and encouraging them, ‘when can we do this, what’s the right time, what’s the right way to do it?'” Pritzker added.
In November, Pritzker said he would keep the mandate in place until there was a further decline in hospitalizations.
The state’s case average has continued to drop overall since around mid-January, data from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows.
Hospitalizations and new admissions for COVID-19-like-illness have also continued to drop throughout January and into February.
Pritzer said on Friday he’s “very hopeful we’ll be able to make some announcements” about the mandate, which has been in effect since August.
Illinois is one of nine states that require masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, according to the AARP.