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Mixed reaction locally to ending of indoor mask mandate


A Peoria City/ County Health Department sign
A Peoria City/ County Health Department sign(25 News / Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 5:44 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 NEWS) - Central Illinoisans have a mixed reaction to the governor’s Wednesday announcement to end the state’s indoor mask mandate.

In the announcement, Governor JB Pritzker cited declining sharply declining case numbers and hospitalizations as reasons for the change, which will take effect at the end of the month if those downward trends continue.

Central Illinoisans are split on the new guidance, with many happy to ditch the masks, while also acknowledging their usefulness.

“It’s fine with me as long as it’s safe,” Tom Milus said. “I can’t imagine someone saying, ‘gosh, I would look forward to a lifetime of wearing a mask.’”

“I’m very happy if it would come to an end,” Robin Henderson said. “After you got your vaccinations done, I think that should have been the end of it.”

”I also understand the need for them definitely to protect others,” Charise Markas said. “But yeah it’s just exciting to get back to normal.”

Still many others say they will be more cautious before they too unmask for good.

“I tend to get every little cold that goes around, and I have yet to be sick for the last year and a half,” Low Point resident Kathy Brooks said. “It is keeping me safe.”

“I’m still a little leery of letting go of the masks... because I’m high risk,” Peoria resident Cathy Kilbourn said.

Local health departments remind us that masks remain one of our best defenses against the virus. Marianne Manko at the McLean County Health Department says although case totals have gone down, transmission rates are still high statewide.

“We’ve really become accustomed to wearing them, so it wouldn’t be unusual for people to just continue wearing them. It would actually be a very smart idea.”

“We’ve really become accustomed to wearing them, so it wouldn’t be unusual for people to just continue wearing them,” Manko said. “It would actually be a very smart idea.”

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