City of Chicago Reinstates Mask Mandate for Community Association Common Areas

The City of Chicago will, as of Friday, August 20, 2021, reinstate the mask mandate for all businesses and public spaces, which includes "common areas of condos and multi-residential buildings and private clubs." Accordingly, condominium and HOA boards within the City of Chicago must require masks to be worn in common areas by "any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a mask."

Since the mask mandate was lifted earlier this summer, it was our firm's position that requiring individuals to wear masks within the common elements under threat of a fine from the association could be done only if the board adopted a rule. However, Friday's reinstatement of the mask mandate changes things. Most condominium association declarations contain a provision that prohibits any person from engaging in activity within the common elements "in violation of any law." It is this firm's opinion that a board may consider a violation of the City of Chicago's mask mandate within common elements a violation of the law and thus is within its discretion to issue a notice of violation (and potentially levy a fine) for an individual's failure or refusal to wear a mask.

All boards and managers within the City of Chicago should consult with their legal counsel before taking any action to levy fines or fees against a person failing or refusing to wear a mask. Boards should also post signage in the common areas, and send communication to occupants that masks are (once again) required in common areas. As before, there are myriad circumstances, exceptions, and issues to consider with this mandate. We strongly recommend any board or manager contact Altus Legal to discuss options.