SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ highest court on Thursday included wearing a face covering in its COVID-19 rules governing state courthouse admittance.
The update comes six days after Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued his seventh disaster proclamation in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and reflects the Supreme Court’s first direct mention of masks since its March 17 guidelines were issued.
Now, those who work or have business at a state court building “should not enter any courthouse” without a face covering. Masks “should be worn at all times” unless the individual is younger than 2 years old, experiencing breathing trouble or is given different instructions by an official.
A Supreme Court spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether the language of the rule indicates wearing a face covering is a suggestion or mandate.
“This recommendation came from the COVID-19 Task Force and is an update to the March 17 order to reflect current conditions statewide,” he said in an email.
Other reasons Illinoisans should not access a courthouse, according to the guidelines, include having COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms and a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. Also, residents who were instructed to remain at home for isolation or quarantine by a health professional, or who live or have close contact with someone who has, “should not” enter a state court building.
A previous iteration of these rules specified that those who had traveled to a “high-risk” location as specified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention within three weeks and who were diagnosed with COVID-19 should not enter a courthouse. These are not included in the guidelines issued Thursday.
Illinois’ Supreme Court has authority over all state courts, thus making these rules applicable statewide.
Its updated guidelines were also issued two days after Pritzker issued stricter face covering mandates for bars and restaurants as the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases continued to increase. Customers of such establishments now are required to wear a mask when interacting with staff.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.