In an email to residents sent on Wednesday, Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss announced the City’s vaccine and mask mandates will end on Feb. 28, the same day the state of Illinois lifts similar restrictions.

Saying the data indicates it’s an appropriate time to roll back some COVID-related measures, Biss said Evanston will no longer require city restaurants and businesses to check vaccination status and there will no longer be a citywide mask requirement for indoor locations.

“It is unclear when, if ever, COVID-19 will be truly gone,” Biss wrote. “Consequently, we must prepare ourselves for keeping certain high-impact less-disruptive mitigations in place over the long haul.”

Biss said the city will keep in place mandates requiring vaccines for staff members, the City Council and members of City boards, committees and commissions.

Biss cited as reasons for rolling back COVID mitigation measures the lower number of patients hospitalized with COVID (30 in Evanston-area hospitals, he said), a positive test rate of .93 percent and a seven-day moving average of daily confirmed cases at 14.

Biss pointed out that federal and/or state regulations still require masking in some settings, such as in health care facilities and on public transportation. He also noted that the Illinois Department of Public Health provides guidance on day care facilities.

The mayor said that should COVID metrics return to more concerning levels, the city would assess whether to reinstitute mask and/or vaccine requirements.

Read the entire statement here.