Attacking a worker who's asking customers to wear masks is now a felony in Illinois

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(KMOX) - Illinois is cracking down on unruly customers who refuse to wear masks or follow social distancing rules.

The state has passed a law making it a felony to attack a worker who is trying to enforce "public health guidelines" such as wearing masks or keeping distance.  Such assaults will now be considered aggravated battery.

Gov. JB Pritzker says the message is vitally important for workers to be both respected and protected while serving on the front lines. 

In several states, including Illinois, disputes over customers being asked to wear a face mask have turned violent. A supermarket employee in LA was suspended after she pepper-sprayed a man who refused to wear a face mask and in New Jersey a woman's leg was broken after she was thrown to the floor by another customer after asking her to properly wear her mask and 

Illinois currently requires any resident who leaves the house to wear a mask, and fines businesses who won't comply with mask requirements.

Last week, the governor also new fines can be given out to businesses, schools and/or child care establishments who don't follow mandates on face coverings and the size of gatherings.

If the business continues to refuse to comply after being given a warning, the business can receive a class A misdemeanor and be subject to a fine ranging from $75-$2,500.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 1,382 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus and eight additional confirmed deaths. Overall, Illinois has had 194,080 confirmed cases and 7,636 deaths.

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