Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: Vaccine Requirements for Restaurants Are Now ‘Necessary’

Lori Lightfoot's Chicago
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

Businesses requiring patrons, including children as young as five, to show proof of vaccination is now “necessary,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) declared this week.

“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,” the Democrat mayor said on Tuesday, announcing the city’s new vaccine requirement, which goes into effect January 3.

“New steps must be taken to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents,” she continued, calling vaccine requirements “necessary.”

“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,” she added.

The new rule applies to individuals ages five and older, requiring them to show proof of full vaccination.

“This new requirement will not eliminate COVID risk, but it will help ensure a much safer indoor environment for fully vaccinated Chicagoans, as well as for the employees working in these higher-risk settings,” CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady said in a statement, lecturing unvaccinated Chicagoans:

As we head further into the winter months, we must take this step now. With Omicron, I do expect to see many more COVID reinfections and breakthrough cases, but luckily the vaccines continue to protect very well against severe illness, hospitalization, and death—and even more so when people have also had a booster shot. I remain most worried about the hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans who still have not received a single dose of COVID vaccine nor recovered from COVID infection. I’m worried for their own health, but also for the risk they pose to others’ health and to our hospital capacity—and while we are in this concerning surge, we must limit that risk.

In addition, Chicago also has an indoor mask mandate in place which “will remain in effect until the City of Chicago is through this Omicron-driven surge and the risk of overwhelming hospital capacity has passed,” according to the mayor’s office.

Chicago follows the lead of New York City, which is also requiring children as young as five to show proof of vaccination in order to participate in many everyday activities, including dining at an indoor restaurant.

On Wednesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced a vaccine requirement for patrons of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, indoor entertainment facilities, gyms, and other meeting establishments.

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