Beginning Jan. 3, most of suburban Cook County will join the city of Chicago in requiring proof of vaccination for many indoor public spaces as officials work to combat a massive surge in COVID cases.
According to the new guidelines, those residents 5 years of age and older must show proof of full vaccination at any establishment where food or drink is intended to be consumed indoors. That order includes restaurants, bars, fitness facilities and movie theaters, among others.
The order will go into effect Jan. 3.
“Earlier this year, we had hoped that we were on a path to finally put the pandemic behind us,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “But unfortunately, with the dual threat presented by the delta and omicron variants, and with cases, hospitalizations and deaths rising to new heights across Cook County, we must once again reassess and re-align our strategies with what the science is telling us.”
Get Chicago local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Chicago newsletters.
According to Cook County officials, the county is seeing more than 500 new cases of COVID per 100,000 residents each day, and the county’s positivity rate has climbed to 7.8% in recent weeks.
The new order will take effect in all of suburban Cook County, with the exceptions of Evanston, Oak Park, Skokie and Stickney Township, which have their own dedicated health departments.
Here are the places where vaccine proof will be required:
Establishments where food or beverages are served and intended for on-site consumption. These include, but are not limited to, restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, coffee shops, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, dining areas of grocery stores, breweries, wineries, distilleries, banquet halls, and hotel ballrooms
Fitness centers include, but are not limited to, settings like health clubs, yoga studios, group fitness classes, recreation centers and dance studios.
Indoor entertainment and recreation venues where food or beverages are served
Entertainment venues include, but are not limited to, movie theaters, concert venues, live theater and music spaces, sports arenas, bowling alleys and arcades.
What about places that aren't included in the new guidelines?
The following establishments are exempted from the rules:
-Houses of worship
-K-12 schools, preschools and child care centers
-Indoor locations in a residential or office building that are limited to residents, owners or tenants of the building
-Charitable food service establishments, such as soup kitchens
The following individuals are exempted from the new rules:
-Individuals entering an establishment for less than 10 minutes for ordering and carrying out food, making a delivery, or using restrooms
-Individuals who previously received a medical exemption, as long as proof of the medical exemption and proof of a negative COVID test within the last 24 hours are provided to the business upon entry.
-A non-resident performing artist or nonresident individual accompanying the artist who is not regularly performing in a business where the order applies.
-A nonresident professional athlete or nonresident person accompanying the athlete who enters a covered location as part of their regular employment for purposes of the professional athletic or sports competition.
-An individual 18 years of age or younger who enters a business to participate in a school activity or after-school program offered by a K-12 public or non-public school.
-Any person entering a business for the purposes of voting in an election, or assisting or accompanying a voter or observing an election.