Aldermen want proof-of-vaccine rule to enter Chicago restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues

Several Chicago aldermen are calling for the city to mandate proof of vaccination for people visiting public indoor settings, a move already adopted in other cities like New York.

The aldermen said they were writing in support of Chicago requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination “for persons visiting public indoor settings like restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms and concert halls,” according to a copy of the letter sent Thursday. New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco and Puerto Rico have issued such requirements, they noted.

“We believe it is time for Chicago to do the same given: (1.) the uncontrolled community transmission of the Delta variant, (2.) the threat of new variants, (3.) approaching colder weather that will drive Chicagoans to indoor activities, and (4.) free and readily available FDA approved and emergency authorized COVID-19 vaccines.

It’s not clear whether the city will implement such a mandate. The mayor’s office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

In response to questions, a city spokesman released a noncommittal statement.

“We continue to monitor the data daily and will adapt public health guidance as appropriate, as we have throughout the pandemic,” the Public Health Department said.

Lightfoot has faced a complicated balancing act on the pandemic. She has encouraged residents to get vaccinated and warned about possible restrictions if the city sees spikes, then followed through with a mask mandate after initially issuing a recommendation. But she also has made a point of emphasizing her desire to keep the city as open as possible. At times, it has led to some mixed messaging.

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