Madison County has now mandated the need to wear face coverings in public amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The world is still struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some states in the U.S. recently decided to reopen to revive their economies. Unfortunately, public health officials have been reporting surges in cases ever since businesses resumed their operations.
In May, Madison County was among the areas that reopened despite the statewide stay-at-home order in Illinois. Many businesses in the area were allowed to operate but in limited capacity. At the time, officials urged residents to wear face masks and practice social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to 5 Chicago.
But now officials in the county are requiring people to wear face coverings in public places so as to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The new mandate is taking effect on July 7 at 5 p.m., per Madison County Officer Dr. Karen Landers.
“We need to do all we can to limit the spread of COVID-19. Until we have a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, wearing a face covering in public is a key measure we have available to prevent transmission of the virus,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris told WAFF48.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, who was one of the state health officials who supported the order, said that they are mandating the use of face coverings because since June 16, they have noticed that the positive cases in Madison County tripled and hospitalizations increased 660 percent.
As part of the mandate, people are required to wear face masks whenever they are in indoor spaces of businesses including stores, bars, entertainment venues, restaurants, government buildings and public meeting spaces.
Residents are also obliged to wear face coverings when using public transportation services, such as mass transit, paratransit, taxi and ride-sharing services. In public spaces where ten or more people are gathered, there is also a need to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
However, there are also exceptions. Children age 2 and below and people who are eating or drinking are not obliged to wear face coverings. Patients in medical examination rooms and those receiving personal care are also exempted. Lastly, in cases when wearing face masks could pose a significant health risk, the mandate won’t be applied.