File Photo – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker | Provided Photo

Governor JB Pritzker, citing the continued decrease in COVID cases, confirmed that Illinois’ indoor mask requirement, which has been in effect since August, will end on Monday.

The requirement will end at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, according to the governor’s office.

Masks will still be required where federally mandated and in places such as health care facilities, congregate settings, long-term care facilities and daycare settings.

Private businesses and municipalities may still choose to implement their own masking requirements.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve taken action to save lives and keep our economy open – and I’m proud that Illinoisans have done the hard work that has our made our state a leader in the Midwest,” Pritzker said.

“Today, our hospitals are much better positioned to handle emergencies and more than half of all eligible adults have been boosted; this is the progress we needed to make to remove our state indoor masking requirements. As individuals, I encourage everyone to make the best choices going forward to protect your health, along with that of your family and community – and most importantly to treat each other with kindness and compassion,” he said.

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The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has substantially decreased recently and the number of ICU beds available has increased, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Illinois’ weekly COVID-19 case rate has also decreased by 70%.

The governor’s office said Friday that Illinois had fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations per capita and fewer COVID-19 deaths per capita than the entire Great Lakes region since the state reinstated its mask mandate in August.

“We are now entering the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and while our focus continues to be on preventing severe illness and ensuring our health care systems aren’t overwhelmed, we are also looking forward to how we will coexist with COVID-19,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

“We each have a role to play in staying healthy and we have many tools that can help protect us from severe illness due to COVID-19. Our tools include readily available safe and effective vaccines, monoclonal antibody and oral antiviral treatments, at-home testing, as well as the personal health actions people can take such as avoiding crowds, hand washing, and continued mask wearing as may be recommended,” Ezike said.

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Pritzker urged schools to continue following state and federal COVID-19 guidance.

Earlier this month, Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow “deemed null and void” the governor’s emergency rules through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) concerning COVID-19 mitigations for schools.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals dismissed Pritzker’s appeal of the ruling as “moot.”

Pritzker, who is now seeking the Illinois Supreme Court to hear his appeal in the case, said he will review the results of lifting the indoor mask mandate before making an regarding the school mask mandate.