What started as a really strange change for nearly all Americans, over the past two years, masks in public have become a part of everyday life. Whatever you think of the pandemic restrictions put in place across Illinois, masking in public was mandatory and it was the law.

That changed starting February 28th. Masks are now optional in most public settings (details on where they are still required below). It's important to note that masks are indeed optional, not unnecessary. There is a huge difference. COVID-19 is still with us, and masks along with universal vaccinations are still the best way to prevent catching COVID and coming down with symptoms that can send you to the hospital.

But our understanding of COVID-19 and our public health response continues to evolve. That means allowing individuals who choose to not wear masks in public to do so, just as individuals who want to continue to wear masks must be allowed to as well.

Everyone wants the pandemic to end. The suffering it has caused all of our communities is immeasurable. Having our public health experts declare that masks are no longer mandatory is an important step in that process. But it's still just a step, and everyone should still do whatever they can to protect themselves and their families.

As always, the 3rd Ward Public Service Office staff and I are available to assist you by phone 773-373-9273 or via email at Thank you for reading this newsletter. Please share it with a neighbor or friend.


Pat Dowell
Alderman, 3rd Ward