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Pritzker says mask requirement could stretch into next year

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinoisans could be wearing face coverings in public for months to come.

The governor stopped in Quincy on Monday, one a several Illinois regions that have seen an increase in coronavirus cases. Adams County, which has seen an increase in cases for 7 straight days, has been put on “warning” by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“Folks, this is very serious,” Pritzker said. “Infections are rising across the nation, in our neighboring states and right here in Adams County.”

The governor was joined by health officials who urged Illinoisans to wear face coverings when out in public.

Dr. James Daniels, Adams County Health Department Director, said wearing a face covering has nothing to do with politics. Rather it is common sense.

“You are seeing folks from both sides of the aisle reach across and give you the same message. That’s how important it is,” Daniels said. “Wear the mask. It doesn’t just protect your neighbor, it protects you.”

Other Illinois counties put on a warning level include Peoria, LaSalle and Randolph counties. State health officials said outbreaks around the state are associated with “business and risky behavior.” Some of the risky practices include holding large social events, traveling to coronavirus hot spots, not wearing face coverings or social distancing, and crowding into bars and parties.

Pritzker, who also made a stop in the Quad Cities, said life as it was before COVID-19 will not be returning anytime soon.

“We are not going to be able to take off the mask and go about everything we were doing 7-8 months ago for a few more months, maybe 6-plus months,” Pritzker said.

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