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CHICAGO — Gov. JB Pritzker will announce Wednesday plans to begin lifting the state’s indoor mask mandate, a source confirms to WGN Investigates.

WGN Investigates has learned that easing restrictions will likely happen in stages with requirements for masking in most indoor public places fully lifted by March 1.

Notably, Pritzker is expected to attempt to keep a masking requirement in place in schools as the state appeals a judge’s ruling that many school districts have interpreted to mean they can’t enforce masking among students.

When pressed Tuesday on whether an end to the mask mandate was in the state’s reach, Pritzker said ‘stay tuned’ and cited COVID-19 hospitalizations rates for his marker in lifting mandates.

SEE ALSO: Pritzker says ‘stay tuned’ amid growing pressure to lift mask mandates

“It’s a tremendous desire of mine to do what we did last summer, which is to take masks off and see if we can’t get through this now that we have treatments, widespread spread vaccination, testing available,” Pritzker said.

The expected news comes days after Pritzker filed a notice on Monday morning to appeal the downstate judge’s ruling.

“Judge Raylene Grischow’s ruling is out of step with the vast majority of legal analysis in Illinois and across the nation,” Pritzker said, claiming her ruling “cultivates chaos.”

READ MORE: ‘We should remove masks as soon as we can ‘: Pritzker considering easing COVID-19 restrictions as cases drop

An expected appellate court decision is due by Feb. 17.