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Illinois expands rules on wearing masks during indoor dining

August 25, 2020 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials have expanded rules requiring masks while dining indoors, saying Tuesday that customers must wear face coverings during each interaction with servers and other restaurant workers.

State officials said the requirements — including while servers are an taking order or bringing a bill — go into effect Wednesday and follow a recent increase in COVID-19 cases. Also starting Wednesday, indoor dining won’t be allowed in Will and Kankakee counties following consecutive days of a positive test rate of 8%, roughly double the statewide rate.

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Currently, customers are required to wear masks except while eating and drinking. The revision extends the requirement to all interactions with employees while seated.

“Going out for food and drinks should not be a reason or an excuse to let our guards down in the fight against COVID-19,” said the department’s director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

Also Tuesday, the Department of Public Health announced 1,680 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 29 deaths. Overall, Illinois has reported 223,470 cases and including 7,917 deaths.

In Chicago, officials looking ahead to winter launched a challenge to propose outdoor dining solutions for when temperatures drop. The winners get a $5,000 cash prize and the chance to try out the idea at restaurants and bars in Chicago.