Chicago to Require Immunization Proof for Indoor Spaces Like Restaurants, Bars, and Gyms – NBC Chicago
Chicago will soon require proof of vaccination for indoor public spaces like restaurants, bars and gyms in the New Year, the city’s mayor said on Tuesday, joining other major cities like New York and Los Angeles to add the requirement as COVID cases increase.
Starting January 3, anyone aged 5 and over will be required to show full proof of vaccination to dine indoors or visit gyms or entertainment venues where food and drink are served.
The city said the policy is “in response to an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases both locally and nationally, driven in part by the omicron variant.”
“Despite our diligent and fair efforts to distribute vaccines throughout this year,
Unfortunately, our city continues to see a surge of COVID-19 Delta and now Omicron cases, ”Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “New measures must be taken to protect the health and well-being of our residents. This public health decree requiring proof of vaccination to visit certain indoor public places is a necessary step to ensure that we can continue to enjoy our city’s many amenities as the New Year dawns. “
Under the new guidelines, people aged 5 and over must show full proof of vaccination, but anyone aged 16 and over will also need to provide identification that matches their vaccination record. Employees at these sites will also need to be vaccinated or wear a mask and show proof of weekly negative COVID-19 tests.
Chicago Department of Public Health Dr Allison Arwady gave the latest COVID-19 measurements in the city as authorities on Tuesday announced a new vaccine requirement in public places.
The city noted that its indoor mask mandate also remains in effect.
“This new requirement will not eliminate the risk of COVID, but it will help ensure a much safer indoor environment for fully vaccinated Chicagoans, as well as employees working in these high-risk environments. As we head into the winter months, we need to take that step now, ”Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady said in a statement. “With Omicron, I expect to see a lot more COVID re-infections and breakthrough cases, but luckily vaccines continue to protect very well against serious illness, hospitalization and death, and even more so when people have it too. received a reminder. I remain very concerned for the hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans who still have not received a single dose of the COVID vaccine or recovered from the COVID infection. I’m worried about their own health, but also about the risk they pose to the health of others and to our hospital capacity – and while we’re in this worrying wave, we need to limit that risk.
Here are the full requirements:
Indoor dining room
Establishments where food or drink is served, including but not limited to restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, cafes, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, grocery store food courts, breweries, wineries, distilleries, banquet halls and hotel ballrooms
Fitness in the gym
Gyms and fitness facilities including, but not limited to, gymnasiums, leisure facilities, fitness centers, yoga, Pilates, cycling, barre and dance studios, gymnasiums hotel, boxing and kickboxing gyms, fitness training camps and other facilities used for conducting group indoor fitness classes.
Indoor entertainment and recreation places where food or drink is served
Including, but not limited to, movie theaters, concert and music venues, performance venues, adult entertainment venues, commercial event and party venues, sports arenas, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, game rooms, family entertainment centers, play areas, pool and pool halls and others
recreational play centers.
Places not included in the requirement
The vaccine requirement does not include places of worship; grocery stores (although interior food sections of grocery stores are included); locations at O’Hare International Airport or Midway International Airport; locations in a residential or office building the use of which is limited to residents, owners or tenants of this building; or catering establishments that only provide charitable food services, such as soup kitchens. Schools and daycares are also not included in the order.
Companies will be required to develop and maintain a written record of their plans for implementing and enforcing the vaccine requirement while also posting signs at the entrances.
There are some exceptions to this requirement, however, city officials noted. These include:
• Individuals entering an establishment for less than 10 minutes to order and
carry food; deliver goods; or use the bathroom;
• A non-resident performer who does not perform or render services regularly
in a covered place, or a non-resident natural person accompanying such
artist, while the performer or individual is in a covered area for the
the purposes of that artist’s performance;
• A non-resident professional athlete or non-resident individual accompanying such
professional athlete, who enters a covered area as part of his
employment for the purpose of professional athlete / sports team competition;
• People who have already benefited from a medical or religious exemption (eg.
of an employer), provided that these clients show proof of establishment of the
medical or religious exemption and a COVID-19 test administered by a doctor
professional within 72 hours of entry.
• A person 18 years of age or younger entering a covered area to
participate in an activity organized by a school or extracurricular program offered by
any public or non-public school from Kindergarten to Grade 12; and
• A person who enters for the purpose of voting in a municipality, state or federal government
election; or, in accordance with the law, assist or accompany a voter or observe
City health officials have been saying for weeks that vaccine proof may soon be required for some indoor activities and public spaces.
Several restaurants and places have already required proof of vaccination or negative tests to enter regardless of city rules.
“There is no denying that we are in a fifth wave of COVID-19,” Lightfoot said in a speech Tuesday. “This new wave is apparently deadlier than the last, spreading faster and causing profound damage. I haven’t been so concerned about COVID-19 since the early days of the pandemic in 2020.”
Cook County health officials also urged increased mitigation measures last week, as suspected cases of omicron continued to grow in the suburbs just outside the city.
The county said that while the delta variant remains the predominant variant, the number of cases, case rates, test positivity, hospitalizations and deaths “are all on the rise.”
“CCDPH publishes increased mitigation practices for individuals and businesses,” the county health department said in a statement. “CCDPH is urging residents of suburban Cook County to follow them to slow the spread of COVID-19. We must continue to work together to stay healthy and avoid overloading the health system. ”
In Chicago alone, the average daily rate of cases rose to 991 per day, a 79% increase from the previous week. Hospitalizations and daily deaths have also increased over the past week, according to city data.
In Illinois, cases and hospitalizations continue to rise ahead of the holidays.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state reported 12,328 new cases of the virus in the past day, the highest number recorded in a single day in 2021. In fact, the number is the most raised in a single day since December. As of January 1, 2020, when 12,542 new cases were reported, according to data from the IDPH.
At least 17 cases of omicron have been detected so far in Illinois, according to the IDPH, with local health officials confirming at least two in the Chicago area, one in the city itself.
At the same time, the state is also seeing an increase in the number of newly hospitalized coronavirus patients, with more residents seeking emergency medical care than at any time so far this year.
Yet although they encourage local authorities to make decisions at the regional level, state officials said there are currently no plans to reinstate state-level restrictions at this time.