Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is bringing back the indoor mask mandate effective Monday.
That means all Illinois casino patrons will need to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. The move comes as Illinois is amid a COVID-19 delta variant surge.
As of now, there are no indoor capacity restrictions in Illinois — meaning all 10 of the state’s casinos can operate at 100% capacity.
But Pritzker warned last week that more mitigations could be coming if COVID-19 metrics don’t decline:
“We’re consistently looking at the menu of options that we may need to impose in order to bring down the numbers. I will remind you that if we are not able to bring these numbers down, if hospitals continue to fill, if the hospital beds and ICUs get full like they are in Kentucky -that’s just next door to Illinois – if that happens, we’re going to have to impose significantly greater mitigations.”
As of last week, all 102 of Illinois’ counties were experiencing “high transmission” levels of COVID-19. Pritzker said the state is “running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds.”
The governor also urged Illinoisans to get vaccinated.
“Let’s be clear, the vaccination is the most effective tool we have for keeping people out of the hospital and preventing deaths,” he said.
Cubs, White Sox mask policies get an update
For a while, the Cubs and White Sox did not require vaccinated people to wear masks at any point. But Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field are now requiring fans to mask up (in certain situations) regardless of vaccination status.
The Cubs’ official policy states:
“Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and based on Chicago’s current COVID-19 data, the Chicago Department of Public Health is requiring everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering in public indoor settings, unless actively eating or drinking, while seated. All Wrigley Field guests who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face-covering at all times, except when actively eating or drinking while seated.
There is some gray area here, as both of Chicago’s baseball stadiums are outdoors. But there are enclosed indoor areas within the ballparks, such as a team store or a luxury box. Those would seem to apply here.
Could Illinois online sports betting registration return?
But, in early April, the governor brought back the in-person registration requirement as vaccines became widely available.
Illinois has had in-person sportsbook registration ever since. And while we wouldn’t count on Pritzker reversing his stance, it’s more of a possibility now than it was a few months ago.
Still, Illinois was only in Phase 4 in April. Indoor venues had a 50% capacity limit to go along with the mask mandate.
In other words, the state is more open now than it was then. But, in fairness, the legislature intended for in-person registration to expire at the end of this year anyway.
With only a few months left in 2021 and the delta variant wreaking havoc, it would make sense to bring back online registration.
Of course, Illinois hasn’t always acted sensibly when it comes to sports betting rollout. PlayIllinois will keep you posted with any new updates.