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Gov. Pritzker announces new COVID-19 guidelines, protection for workers

Governor Pritzker detailed new protections for workers on the frontline of the pandemic and steps to encourage businesses to comply with the mask mandate.
Credit: AP
In this March 30, 2020 file photo, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks in Chicago during the daily update on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Pritzker said during a stop in Rock Island, Ill., Monday, July 27, 2020, that "things are not moving in the right direction" in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois, where officials reported a sixth day in a row of more than 1,000 newly confirmed cases. Earlier in Quincy, the Democrat said he didn't expect life in Illinois to return to normal until sometime next year. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File)

Illinois governor J.B. Priztker took to the podium at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, August 7th to provide new updates on COVID-19 guidelines and protections for frontline workers.

Pritzker began the briefing by announcing that he had signed a piece of legislation aimed at protecting frontline workers and their rights. The legislation increased paid disability leave to injured first responders whose recovery has been made difficult by the pandemic, and grants extra protections against assault to retail workers reminding troublesome customers of mask requirements.

Pritzker then announced an expansion of guidelines for enforcing mask requirements in Illinois businesses. Previously, the state used harsher punishments, like fines and license revocation, quickly, but the new guidelines add additional steps to the process to encourage compliance. 

The guideline consists of a three step process: Educating businesses on enforcing mask compliance, giving them a warning the first time they do not comply, and then moving onto fines if the businesses continues to refuse to follow mask requirements. Further infractions can still result in license revocation.

He emphasized that no penalties would be leveled against individual citizens and workers for noncompliance, but that it is still required by law and enforcement will heavily encourage mask use to those not participating.

Pritzker reinforced the limits on gatherings, current set at 50 people or 50% of a building's capacity. Schools must limit the amount of people in one space to 50 or less.