Some Chicago restaurants say city vaccine mandate deadline is unreasonable

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — In one week, Chicago restaurants will be required to check proof of vaccination.

But members of the Chicago Restaurant Coalition spoke out Monday and said the deadline is too tight and too vague.

During a news conference over Zoom, Roger Romanelli of the Coalition and the Fulton Market Association said the city should have given business owners at least 30 days notice, not 13.

“The restaurants can’t continue to be overburdened by government regulation without proper notice and without proper government assistance,” he said.

On December 21, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced indoor venues in the city will need to verify proof of full vaccination in people age 5 and older. That applies to indoor dining establishments, gyms, and entertainment and recreation venues where food and beverages are served.

The mandate begins January 3.

Mary Kay Tuzi owns the Twin Anchors Restaurant in Old Town.She said finding someone to check vaccine cards will be difficult and expensive.

“Just trying to find staff right now is insane to begin with,” she said.

Romanelli wants the city and federal government to allocate money for restaurants to help cover these costs.

“And now we’re asking them to check vaccine papers, and identification, and maybe hire new staff and spend time with their lawyers, and maybe pay people extra to put in security cameras,” he said. “They don’t have the money to do this.”

The coalition also wants instructions on what to do if someone does not comply.

They’re asking the city and police department to issue a clear plan.

“To provide written instructions to restaurants in case they have angry and unruly customers,” Romanelli said. “So we want restaurants to be prepared to work closely with the police department.”

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