CHICAGO — How will the new vaccine requirement impact restaurants in Chicago?
It’s both a burden and a relief, some say. Restaurants will now have to have a staff member check vaccination cards and IDs. But now it won’t be different rules at different places. Lightfoot’s announcement means there’s now a consistent rule for every restaurant and bar in the city.
Mark Liberson is the owner of Replay Restaurant and Bar in Andersonville, and a number of other North Side venues. He has been requiring proof of vaccination at his restaurant and bars since August.
“Personally, it’s not going to make a big difference, us being required to ask for vaccines, because we’ve been doing it now for a long time,” he said.
Liberson said the city’s new health order brings consistency and clarity to all of Chicago.
“I think the consistency of a requirement really does make things a lot easier,” he said.
The order requires anyone aged 5 or older to show proof that they’re fully vaccinated for indoor dining, indoor fitness and indoor entertainment and recreation venues where food or beverages are served starting January 3.
The president of the Illinois Restaurant Association issued a written statement on the new requirements that read:
Chicago’s hospitality community is in a very fragile stage of recovery. Throughout the pandemic, the industry has prioritized customer and team member safety above all else, and the IRA strongly supports vaccinations for everyone to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We encourage all diners to please lend their cooperation, respect and kindness to the employees working to comply with the new mandate during these challenging times.
Restaurant workers are not required to be vaccinated but must provide weekly negative COVID-19 tests and wear a masks when dealing with customers.