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Evanston Face Mask Requirements

Dear members of the Northwestern community,

On April 20th, Steve Hagerty, Mayor of the City of Evanston announced an order requiring individuals to cover their faces when visiting Evanston businesses or riding public transportation or rideshare vehicles in Evanston. This order will apply to individuals visiting Northwestern University’s Evanston campus as well.

According to the order, all persons over the age of two (with limited exceptions) are required to wear face coverings while engaging in the following activities:

  • Working in or patronizing essential businesses and operations (as defined in the Governor’s Stay at Home Order) that are open to the public in Evanston, for example, grocery stores, restaurants or financial institutions
  • Essential activities such as shopping for necessary supplies and services, seeking medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional
  • Riding in public transportation, taxis or rideshare vehicles

The face covering order does not apply:

  • When engaging in a permissible outdoor activity (e.g. walking, hiking, running, or biking), while at the same time practicing social distancing of at least six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence
  • When riding in a personal vehicle
  • When a person is alone or with members of the same household or residence in a private space that is not open to the general public
  • When doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk to the person or to the public

Appropriate face coverings include non-medical grade masks, homemade masks, scarves, bandanas or handkerchiefs. Medical-grade masks and N95 respirators are not recommended for general public use, per CDC guidelines and this Order, and should be reserved for use by health care, medical providers and first-responders.

How this impacts the Northwestern community

The order applies to all members of the Northwestern community on the Evanston campus, including faculty, staff, students, contractors and visitors whenever appropriate social distancing of at least six feet cannot be accomplished. This may occur when in elevators, common areas, lobbies or in densely-populated office areas.

The face covering requirement generally will not apply to faculty and staff while working in laboratories, as established personal protective equipment expectations supersede the requirement. It also will not apply to members of the University community who live in University-owned or operated residential facilities when they are in their private residential hall rooms or residences.

Essential employees who are working on site and need face masks should contact their supervisors, who will work with Risk Management and Research Safety to obtain and distribute masks to employees. Students living on campus who are in need of a mask will receive additional information via email from Student Affairs.

For any questions about these requirements, please review the FAQs on Northwestern’s COVID-19 website, or contact the following:

We appreciate your cooperation in helping to protect our community and beyond.


Luke Figora
Senior Associate Vice President
Chief Risk and Compliance Officer