State launches mask awareness campaign

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Boosting the state’s already-underway efforts to promote the use of face coverings in public as a measure against the spread of COVID-19, Governor JB Pritzker today announced the launch of a new awareness campaign aimed at encouraging just that — “because,” the campaign says, “it only works if you wear it.”

The $5 million awareness campaign will hit broadcast and cable television, radio, billboards and social media to the communities with the greatest risk from COVID-19, according to a press release from Pritzker’s office.

Advertisement will be broadcast in both English and Spanish through a variety of traditional and online media channels, including broadcast, cable and connected TV; streaming audio and radio; billboards; digital display and video; and social media.

Like other coronavirus-related expenses, costs are reimbursable by the federal government. 

“We’ve made so much progress since the beginning of this pandemic — let’s protect that progress,” he said in a press conference. “This is our moment to pull together as families, friends, and neighbors.”

The Governor launched the campaign from the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield with those who are helping to lead the state’s response: Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, and Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. As of Friday, 11 counties have now reached IDPH’s “warning level” for virus spread, Sangamon County.

“Governor Pritzker, Dr. Nogzi Ezike and I spend each and every day poring over the numbers, making decisions to keep people safe and planning for what’s ahead,”said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau.“If we continue on the track we’re on, we’ll need to look at bringing back some restrictions that we’ve seen over the last few months. Nobody wants that. We haven’t seen enough people wearing face coverings and following the rule we put in place on May 1.”

Pritzker introduced Illinois’ mask-wearing requirement on May 1, the same day Illinois moved into Phase 2, and called for a national mask mandate during testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives on July 8.

Driven by real-time data, the awareness effort will respond to the latest trends in cases and mobility at the county level, following the evolving on-the-ground conditions in communities across the state. For example, if both cases and mobility are high in a county, platforms in that county would receive the maximum amount of funding, while counties with lower cases and mobility would receive baseline funding. The funding model was built to ensure all counties have ample coverage of this vital public health messaging.

Tate-Nadeau said the state has distributed around 30.7 million masks so far, and has plans to deliver an additional 2.5 million to schools across the state. She added that the state has sent more than 450,000 masks to “critical infrastructure” sites throughout the United States as well.

Pritzker reiterated that the state is not asking local law enforcement to “chase people down when they don’t see somebody wearing a mask.”

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