As the city of Chicago and most of suburban Cook County implement a requirement that customers at specific indoor facilities furnish a proof-of-vaccination, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker praised the measures, but cautioned that they may not be right for eateries across the state.
During a press conference Monday, Pritzker praised leaders for making “the tough calls” in implementing the measures, saying that they are the type of strategies that could curb a rapid surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations.
“I think the city and the county are doing the right thing for the people of the city and the county,” he said. “Anybody who’s willing to step up and make the tough calls….at the city level and at the county level, I applaud.”
Both Chicago and Cook County brought the new measures into force on Monday. The mitigations require that customers to provide proof that they are vaccinated against COVID at restaurants, bars and other facilities that serve food and drink intended for on-site consumption.
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As for whether or not the state of Illinois intends to establish similar measures, Pritzker said that officials are looking at taking things on a case-by-case basis, rather than immediately implementing new mitigations.
“I encourage local leaders to do what’s right in their communities,” he said. “Every community is a bit different. As you know, some counties have very few restaurants. They don’t have huge crowds in those restaurants, and so it’s hard for them to have exactly the same kind of mitigation that the city of Chicago may have.”
Several Cook County communities have their own health departments, but have opted to enact similar rules, including Evanston, Oak Park and Skokie. The rules in those areas will go into effect on Jan. 10, rather than Monday.
Still, other communities have pushed back against the new rules, with Orland Park and Burr Ridge officials announcing that they would not require enforcement of the measure.
In Chicago, the rules apply to indoor dining establishments, with businesses required to check the vaccination status of all patrons age 5 and older. Individuals do not need to show proof of vaccination for pick-up orders or if they are dining outdoors, according to the rules.
Employees of those businesses will either be required to show proof-of-vaccination, or to submit to weekly COVID testing.
The mandate is similar in Cook County, with anyone 5 and older required to show proof of vaccination at locations where customers can order food and drinks.