“Illinois has had a mask mandate since May 1 of this year, and in most establishments, people are adhering to it, but it’s important that we treat hospitality employees just as you would in any retail store or establishment,” Pritzker said. “This new requirement asks a little bit more of our residents dining out in order to protect their health and safety and that of our frontline hospitality workers.”

Beginning August 26, 2020, patrons must wear a face-covering during all interactions with staff at Illinois bars, restaurants and other food service areas under new statewide rules announced Monday. The updated regulations make the commonsense courtesy mandatory for customers for the first time.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the updated guidelines aim to make it clear that face coverings should be worn any time people interact with someone outside of their immediate circle. She said going out for food or drinks should not serve as an excuse for people not to take precautions against COVID-19.

“Stop wearing your face coverings incorrectly. You’re literally contributing to infection transmission by doing so, and by contributing to infection transmission, potentially to an additional life that will be lost,” Ezike said. Your mask must cover your entire nose and mouth at all times. If it slips down your mask may be too small.

“To the people who say that face coverings don’t work: You are simply wrong,” she added. “It doesn’t matter what video you saw on the internet or the fake headline you read, please know that face coverings do save lives, but they must be used in conjunction with social distancing and hand-washing.”

The governor said the policy was aimed at reducing the risk of airborne transmission by restricting the amount of droplets in the air.

“Remember how COVID-19 transmits. It is essentially your saliva becoming aerosolized when you’re speaking,” Pritzker said. “The idea is to make sure that the masks are being worn when the servers are coming to your table so you’re not exposing them, making sure that at all times when you’re not eating that you’re wearing a mask, trying to, again, keep the aerosolization and, more importantly, the viral load down.”

Under existing rules implemented as part of Phase 4 of Pritzker’s Restore Illinois re-opening plan, all patrons are required to wear masks when on the premises of bars or restaurants except while eating or drinking at a table or bar. The updated guidelines are intended to make interactions with patrons and staff safer, according to state officials, who said it was crafted along with trade groups like the Illinois Restaurant Association, or IRA.