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A pedestrian removes a protective mask worn as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus in Philadelphia, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke, File)

For weeks, much of upstate New York has been in the high-alert orange zone, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designation that reflects serious community spread. The CDC urges people to mask up in indoor public places, including schools, regardless of vaccination status. But few, if any, local jurisdictions in the region brought back a mask requirement despite rising case counts.

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State Sen. Darren Bailey is escorted out of a May 2020 Illinois Senate session for not wearing a mask. (WTTW News)

His campaign said Darren Bailey’s stance on masking has been “consistent” despite a policy at his family business that could be viewed as contradictory to his public anti-masking message. According to federal documents, face coverings are required for certain workers at the Bailey Family Farm, of which he is registered as a trustee.  

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(WTTW News)

Data provided by Chicago health officials to WTTW News show fewer than 10 outbreaks at Chicago day care facilities between Jan. 2 and March 20, but officials acknowledged there were likely more outbreaks.

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CTA free face mask dispenser. (Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued the revised executive order hours after Chicago health and transportation officials told riders a state order required them to keep masking up.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about a slow rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the state. It comes amid rising cases nationwide, and after Philadelphia announces it will reinstate its indoor mask mandate.

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Children and their caregivers arrive for school in New York, Monday, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo / Seth Wenig, File)

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is extending the nationwide mask requirement for public transit for 15 days as it monitors an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

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(WTTW News)

“I don’t anticipate, you know, more serious consequences in terms of work stoppages,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said, “but we will continue to work together because we have it in both our best interests to keep our community safe.”

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(WTTW News)

The school district said it will move to a mask-optional model for all staff and across all grade levels on March 14.

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Family members wearing masks walk along the sidewalk in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Thursday, May 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

Indoor mask mandates for the city of Chicago and state of Illinois are ending Monday. But don’t leave home without one – you’ll still need it in some places. Here’s what you need to know.

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A bartender mixes a drink at the Chicago restaurant 14 Parish. (WTTW News)

After 182 days, Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted the statewide mandate on Monday as confirmed cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations continued to drop precipitously after the surge driven by the omicron variant. 

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Patrons eat indoors at Philippe the Original restaurant in Los Angeles, Friday. Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes)

Many Americans, including parents of school children, have been clamoring for an end to masking while others remain wary that the pandemic could throw a new curveball. Now, states, cities and school districts are assessing Friday’s guidance to determine whether it’s safe to stop mask-wearing.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces that the state’s indoor mask mandate will be lifted on Feb. 28 during a press conference on Feb. 9, 2022. (WTTW News)
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced late Friday students and staff will no longer be required to wear masks in Illinois schools as of Monday, after the Illinois Supreme Court declined to take up his request to overturn an appellate court decision that prompted school districts across Illinois to drop their requirement that students and teachers wear face coverings to stop the spread of COVID-19.
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

“It’s important for us to recognize this moment for what it is: a huge step forward in our effort to overcome COVID-19,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces that the state’s indoor mask mandate will be lifted on Feb. 28 during a press conference on Feb. 9, 2022. (WTTW News)

The ruling declared the governor’s appeal moot because a General Assembly committee declined on Tuesday to reissue rules from the Illinois Department of Health requiring masks to be worn in school buildings. 

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President Joe Biden is flanked by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, after arriving on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 6, 2022. AP Photo / Susan Walsh, File)

Biden’s March 1 address to Congress will play out against what Vice President Kamala Harris has called a “malaise” over the persistence of COVID and growing public impatience to get back to normal after two years of pandemic restrictions.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media Monday, Feb. 14. (Chicago's Mayor's Office)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined Monday to say whether the city is on track to lift its mask mandate along with the state or lift the vaccine mandate for patrons of restaurants, fitness centers and bars on Feb. 28.