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Mask mandate won't be lifted anytime soon, Pritzker says

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While other states are lifting their mask mandates, don't expect that to happen here anytime soon.

Video Transcript

CRAIG WALL: We have a grim and sobering anniversary, indeed, the pandemic changing everyone's lives and redefining what normal means. The governor saying today it will be a while before we get back to that, warning that the mask mandate is not going away anytime soon.

Governor JB Pritzker is sitting down for a one-on-one interview today to talk about the pandemic that has consumed him for the past year.

JB PRITZKER: Well, starting from the very beginning, this has been a sprint and a marathon at the same time.

CRAIG WALL: Since then, the governor has issued 14 disaster declarations that included the initial stay-at-home order that led to deserted streets, shuttered businesses, and transformed everyday life with a mask mandate. And while other states are lifting theirs, don't expect that to happen here any time soon.

JB PRITZKER: As you've seen, we've altered the disaster declaration over time. And as things get better, we've loosened up the mitigations that we've put on businesses and on people across the state. Masks, though, that will stay in place for some time now.

CRAIG WALL: Republicans have frequently complained that Pritzker has left lawmakers out of the decision making process during the pandemic. They've now introduced a bill to require legislative approval for emergency declarations extended past 30 days.

Would you support that bill?

JB PRITZKER: Well, what I can tell you is that we got a lot of input from the legislature, number one. And number two, when you're in an emergency and things are changing quickly, it's very hard to seek the approval of a sometimes disjointed General Assembly.

CRAIG WALL: In hindsight, Pritzker says there are some things he might have done better. But there are no real regrets.

JB PRITZKER: But I know that leadership is about making sure that we're making their lives better and keeping them alive and keeping them safe, and I've tried to do that every single day.

CRAIG WALL: Did it ever keep you up at night?

JB PRITZKER: Oh, yeah.

CRAIG WALL: One of the things Pritzker wonders about is, should he have issued a mask mandate sooner?