COVID-19 vaccination proof might be required to dine out in Chicago

COVID-19 vaccination proof might be required to dine out in Chicago

A group of Chicago aldermen have called for residents to prove their COVID-19 vaccination status before allowing them to attend indoor venues such as restaurants, bars and theaters

Eight Chicago aldermen are pushing for residents to prove they received COVID-19 vaccinations before letting them into restaurants, bars, gyms, concert halls or movie theaters.

The aldermen sent a letter Sept. 9 to the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, asking the city’s top doctor to require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations before letting people enter the city’s public indoor venues. They said uncontrolled community transmission of the Delta variant, the threat of new variants, cold weather pushing Chicagoans indoors and widespread access to the now FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine make proving shot status reasonable.

Beermiscuous Tavern in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood has required proof of vaccination for indoor customers since Aug. 3.

“They’re still allowed to shop with a mask, and we have a patio so [if they’re] unvaccinated or forget ID’s, sit on the patio,” employee Ryan Rutiledge told NBC 5 Chicago. But if patrons want to dine inside, they need to show proof of vaccination.

Vaccine proof is problematic, though.

Security experts and civil rights advocates have argued proving vaccination status could create an array of privacy and logistical concerns. There is no standardized form of vaccination card. Some Illinoisans receive cards, others paper sheets, and others only have it documented in their online medical records.

“The government is not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that required Americans to carry a credential,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki in April, citing privacy concerns or the potential for vaccine passports to be “used against people unfairly.”

If Chicago passes a vaccine pass mandate, the city would join New York, San Francisco and New Orleans, all of which currently require proof of vaccination to enter public indoor spaces.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined to say if Chicago has plans to institute a vaccine proof mandate of its own, but noted the mayor’s office is continuously monitoring the results of vaccine mandates in other cities.

On Aug. 25, Lightfoot announced all city employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15.

Currently, 71% of Chicagoans over 12 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 65% have completed a full vaccine series.

Illinois as a whole slightly lags Chicago in vaccinations, as only 60% of Illinoisans over 12 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 78% of the state having received a single dose.

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