Sycamore, DeKalb officials outline Phase 5 guidelines, what it means for city employees

Masks no longer required indoors at city halls per state health officials guidance

SYCAMORE – Fifteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Sycamore and DeKalb city officials are looking ahead at what city business may look like once Illinois hits Phase 5 of the state governor’s reopening plan, expected by the end of the week.

Illinois is on track to enter Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan Friday, meaning a full reopening and no gathering restrictions on indoor or outdoor activities as COVID-19 virus activity continues to trend downward since the arrival of vaccines. Acting Sycamore City Manager Maggie Peck said this week she notified City of Sycamore employees that all employees and customers who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear masks.

“I have asked employees, though, if somebody comes in wearing a mask, if they are more comfortable in the mask, that our employee put their mask on as well,” Peck said during Monday’s city council meeting. “And we will make sure that they have masks available.”

Peck said the City will continue to post signs, which were provided by the DeKalb County Health Department, saying those who are fully vaccinated do not need a mask. She said she also sent general guidelines for businesses and venues to city employees so they also were made aware.

Upcoming Phase 5 guidelines statewide

The update comes after Pritzker released guidelines within the previous few days ahead of Phase 5 going into effect. Starting on Friday, businesses, restaurants, bars, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, zoos and seated spectator events will be able to operate at full capacity and larger outdoor festivals can be held at no patron capacity restrictions.

Illinois will remain in line with face mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear a mask indoors and outdoors. Exceptions to that guideline include wearing a face mask where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

The state also is lifting the outdoor mask requirement in schools in accordance with CDC guidance.

State health officials will continue to recommend masking for unvaccinated individuals. Face masks still are required for all people while traveling on public transportation, in congregate settings, in health care settings, in schools, in day cares and at educational institutions according to Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC guidance.

Businesses and local municipalities can put in place additional mitigations as they deem appropriate.

City of DeKalb

DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas said Wednesday City Hall also has similar signage that says those who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 are no longer required to wear a mask.

“So if people are working here for whatever reason and they’re not vaccinated, they have to wear a mask,” Nicklas said.

Nicklas said customers or city staff who might feel more comfortable wearing a mask indoors can still do so, and city staff have masks and hand sanitizer available if a patron would prefer them to be used during an interaction.

Nicklas said he’s aware there exists the opportunity for hiccups when indoor masking wearing is left to the honor system, but said he believes as time goes on and summer affords more outdoor availability, people will become more comfortable without masks.

Katie Finlon

Katie Finlon covers local government and breaking news for DeKalb County in Illinois. She has covered local government news for Shaw Media since 2018 and has had bylines in Daily Chronicle, Kendall County Record newspapers, Northwest Herald and in public radio over the years.