If you want to dine in restaurants and bars in North Halsted like DS Tequila and Sidetrack, you better have proof of COVID vaccination, as it’s now required to get in.
More and more restaurants and nightclubs around Chicago area making that move as COVID cases once again surge, driven by the spread of the delta variant, especially in unvaccinated populations.
Others, like Ever in Fulton Market, are not quite there yet, even as they once again mask up regardless of vaccination status.
“Safety first, it’s almost funny to say it, but every move that we make is a safety first move,” said Ever owner Michael Muser.
The move to require masks and ask for vaccination status is supported by CDPH 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.”