Even though Governor J.B. Pritzker is planning on making an announcement later this week about lifting further restrictions and reopening our state, don't start gathering up masks to throw out yet.

If we are to make the leap to reopening as several states already have, the governor says that certain benchmarks have to achieved, like getting all seniors vaccinated against COVID-19, hitting the pre-determined numbers for overall vaccinations, and keeping our infection and death count numbers down.

ABC-7 Chicago:

"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," Pritzker said.

As you're no doubt aware, some states require a face covering anytime an individual leaves his or her residence, while others provide detailed instructions for where masks must be worn. Federal properties all require the wearing of masks to enter and/or conduct business. Other states, however, have pretty much said "enough" to mask mandates altogether, or have reduced the number of places that a mask is state-mandated.

Those states who do not have a mask mandate include (info from USNews.com)

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

So, when Illinois is finally ready to make the move to Phase-5, that means that all sectors of the economy can fully re-open, including festivals, conventions, and other large gatherings of varying sizes. It would appear from the governor's comments that masks will still be part of the overall equation.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.