Chicago vaccine mandate not yet in place, but businesses instituting own mask, shot requirements; Gov. Pritzker to give update

Chicago vaccine mandate not yet in place, but businesses instituting own mask, shot requirements; Gov. Pritzker to give update

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CHICAGO (WLS) — Gov. JB Pritzker is expected to give an update on COVID-19 in Illinois Wednesday afternoon, as some Chicago businesses take vaccine and mask mandates into their own hands.

It used to be “no shirt, no shoes, no services,” but, with cases of COVID rising, some businesses are now saying “no shot, no service.”

Metro Chicago, a concert hall in Wrigleyville, just announced that anyone attending shows there will be required to show proof of vaccination, unlike Lollapalooza, which allowed unvaccinated people to enter by providing a current negative COVID test.

Metro also said patrons will be required to show a government-issued photo ID, and it’s recommended that everyone wear masks.

It’s not clear if Pritzker will make any announcements Wednesday involving masks or renewed restrictions.

If you want to dine in restaurants and bars in NorthHalsted like D.S. Tequila Co. and Sidetrack, you better have proof of COVID vaccination, as it’s now required to get in.

More and more restaurants and nightclubs around the Chicago area are making that move as COVID cases once again surge, driven by the spread of the delta variant, especially in unvaccinated populations.

RELATED: Some Chicago restaurants requiring masks, COVID vaccinations as cases increase

The move to require masks and ask for vaccination status is supported by Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, even as she insisted the city has no plans yet to follow New York’s move to mandate proof of vaccination for all indoor dining and fitness centers.

“I want to thank them for doing that. It is clearly one of the most important things they can do for reducing the risk for everybody in the restaurant,” Arwady said.

The city is working on a way for people to digitally prove their vaccination status.

“We have a lot of people who lose their cards,” Arwady explained. “We want people where there are settings that are wanting to either mandate vaccines or be checking vaccines as folks are coming in. I want to make that as technologically easy as possible in a way that protects everybody’s privacy.”

The Illinois Restaurant Association hopes individual restaurants will be allowed to make their own decisions, and pointed out that restaurants operating at high capacity or that are in neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates would be catastrophically affected by a vaccine mandate.
“We’re still behind,” said Sam Sanchez. “Every time you open the door and you’re not operating at 100%, you’re losing money.”

Businesses see vaccine mandates as way to protect staff

Pritzker is expected to speak at the Thompson Center at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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