One western Illinois state senator says the partial lifting of the state’s COVID mask mandate sends a mixed message.

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In a press release, Republican Senator Jil Tracy of Quincy said that, while it is good to hear that COVID cases have declined to the point that Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday his mask mandate would be lifted at the end of the month in some public areas, the rest of his message is mixed.

The governor’s lifting of the mask mandate does not apply to K-12 schools, and Tracy asked why children will have to be masked in school, but not in a big box store.

Tracy also pointed out that Pritzker’s mandates for the last two years have been handed down without any input from lawmakers, local school boards or health departments.

Here is Sen. Tracy's statement:

“It’s good to hear that COVID-19 cases are declining to a point that indoor mask mandates will be lifted in a few weeks in certain public areas, but the rest of the Governor’s message is mixed. The Governor expressly said the lifting of his indoor mask mandate will NOT apply to school settings in Illinois; however, the Governor will eliminate mask mandates in public areas like grocery stores and museums. We all want our children and school personnel to be safe and continue in-person school learning. But where is the logic that a child must be masked in school, but not at a big-box store?

When Gov. Pritzker initially issued a mask mandate for Illinois schools, he did not consult with lawmakers, local school boards, or local Health Departments. He handed down yet another mandate. He continues to say that science drives his decisions, but it defies logic to lift a mask mandate for adults and not for children. It certainly appears that this was done for political, not science-based reasons.”

Tracy says she has never been in favor of statewide mandates, instead favoring local control.