ROCKFORD (WTVO) — With the World Health Organization officially declaring that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency, is it legal for someone to require customers or patrons to wear a face mask while inside a business in Illinois?

The United States Department of Labor statistics show that, as of May 8, 2023, every county in all 50 states has lifted its mask mandate. But the question remains, does that apply to private businesses within Illinois?

Without any current legislation in place requiring face coverings, the Centers for Disease Control recommends indoor masking in communities deemed high risk for COVID-19 based on hospitalizations, local hospital capacity, and new infections. (You can check your area’s risk level on the CDC’s website.)

During the entirety of the COVID-19 global pandemic, a total of 39 states, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia had at one point in time enforced individuals to wear a mask while in public. 11 states never required face coverings at any point. Florida, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, and Texas, have put in place legislation or executive action preventing local governments or school districts from requiring them.

However, where there are no state, local or tribal requirements, businesses, and other private entities may set their own mask policies, including in Illinois.