Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will require restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues (for example, sports arenas, movie theaters, bowling alleys and concert venues) to check the vaccination status of all patrons 5 and olderthe latest move taken by her administration to slow COVID-19 as the omicron variant of the virus sweeps across the country, The Chicago Tribune noted.
Workers at those businesses do not need to prove they are fully vaccinated, but must wear masks when dealing with customers and provide proof of a weekly negative COVID-19 test.
The new ruleswhich do not affect schools, day-care facilities, churches, airports and office buildingsgo into effect Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Only Chicago is affected.
"Despite our diligent and equitable vaccine distribution efforts throughout this year, unfortunately, our city continues to see a surge of COVID-19 Delta and now Omicron cases," said Lightfoot in a statement Windy City Times received. "New steps must be taken to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents. This public health order requiring proof of vaccination to visit certain indoor public places is a necessary measure to ensure we can continue to enjoy our city's many amenities as we enter the new year."
Proof of vaccination means a CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card or an official immunization record from the jurisdiction, state or country where the vaccine was administered; or a digital or physical photo of such a card or record that reflects the person's name, vaccine brand and date of administration.
Other cities, like New York, have implemented similar vaccine mandates weeks or months ago but Lightfoot has resisted the idea. In September, for instance, she dismissed a proposal for such a mandate from Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and other City Council members, The Tribune noted.
The City of Chicago will be holding informational webinars to provide an overview of the vaccine requirement on Wed., Dec. 22, at 11 a.m.; Wed., Dec. 29, at 11 a.m.; and Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 2 p.m. To register for a webinar, visit chicago.gov/businesseducation.