Starting Thursday, Evanston residents are required to wear face masks


Illustration by Emma Ruck

Starting Thursday, Evanston residents are required to wear face masks when engaging in essential businesses and activities.

Sneha Dey, City Editor

Evanston Health and Human Services Director Ike Ogbo issued an order mandating face coverings for all patrons and employees at essential businesses. The order, effective Thursday at 8 a.m., joins similar orders from five surrounding Chicago suburbs and three municipalities.

The order requires all residents over the age of two wear face coverings like non-medical grade masks, scarves, bandanas or handkerchiefs. Residents are encouraged to make their own masks. Mayor Steve Hagerty recommended residents not use medical-grade masks or N-95 respirators, which are needed by health care workers and first responders.

Face coverings are also required for those riding in public transportation, taxis or rideshare vehicles. Residents are exempt from the order when participating in outdoor activities, riding in personal vehicles or when in private spaces.

Hagerty said the city has been reluctant to issue the order, as neither CDC nor the state has required face coverings. Ultimately, the order was issued to stand with neighboring communities “because we live in the same geographic area and share many of the same essential businesses and amenities.”

Violations of the order can result in fines under the Evanston Municipal Code. Businesses can also refuse services to those who do not comply with the order.

“Having speed limits doesn’t mean some won’t speed. Having laws against discrimination doesn’t mean some won’t discriminate. And adopting a face covering order doesn’t mean some won’t go without one,” Hagerty said. “What these and other laws and regulations have in common is a desire to lead our community to a place that best protects all of us.”

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