Chicago issues vaccine rules for indoor businesses, will others follow? | Illinois

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(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently encouraged local to enforce additional COVID-19 mitigations as needed and Chicago said this week it planned to do just that, but it’s not clear if other towns and cities will follow suit.

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Chicago gyms, restaurants, and entertainment venues must check the vaccination status of all patrons 5 and older starting Jan. 3.

The mitigations were brought on by a surge in COVID-19 cases involving the omicron strain.

“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,” Lightfoot said.

Pritzker has said the state is focused on encouraging people to get vaccinated and use masks. 

“We’re looking at everything that has been done over the last few years, always, but what we’re really focused on is making sure that people are following the masking requirements indoors,” Pritzker said. “Thank you to all of you who are doing that.”

Pritzker also called on local officials to make the decisions to protect their residents, rather than issue a statewide vaccine requirement.

“Throughout this pandemic, I’ve said that local governments and county governments should certainly look at stricter mitigations,” Pritzker said.

The city of Chicago is now averaging more than 1,700 new COVID cases in Chicago residents every day, a 79% increase from one week ago. Chicago’s test positivity rate is now over 7%, up from 4.1% one week ago, the mayor’s office said.

“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,” Lightfoot said.

The requirement will affect how local restaurants and other services conduct their business.

The vaccine requirement will go into effect on Jan. 3, 2022.

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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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