CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago and Cook County will require COVID-19 vaccination proof for indoor venues and Illinois Secretary of State offices will be closed starting Monday due to a surge in infections.
The proof of vaccine rules will apply to everyone age 5 and older and includes restaurants, bars, gyms and other venues like sports and entertainment arenas. The rules don’t apply to those inside venues for less than 10 minutes, like those picking up takeout.
The Secretary of State office closures for in-person services begin Monday and last until at least Jan. 18.
“The health and safety of employees and the public remains paramount, and face-to-face transactions potentially increase the further spread of the virus,” Secretary of State Jesse White said in a statement. He is encouraging people to make online transactions whenever possible, including for renewing a driver’s license.
The move comes as Illinois and the rest of the country are seeing a COVID-19 surge to the highest levels on record.
Anticipating a wave of COVID-19 patients, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is urging hospitals to delay elective surgeries and other non-emergency procedures to keep more beds open.
Also, Illinois General Assembly leaders announced two of three planned session days would be canceled this week due to the surge. Leaders said session days the following week would also likely be canceled.