Chicago restaurant industry responds to new vaccination mandate

CHICAGO – How will the new vaccine requirement impact restaurants in Chicago?

It is both a burden and a relief, some say. Restaurants will now have to have vaccination cards and ID checked by a member of staff. But now it won’t be different rules in different places. Lightfoot’s announcement means there is now one consistent rule for every restaurant and bar in town.

Mark Liberson is the owner of the Replay Restaurant and Bar in Andersonville and several other establishments on the North Side. He has required proof of vaccination in his restaurant and bars since August.

“Personally, it’s not going to make a big difference, with us having 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 makes it a lot easier,” he said.

The ordinance requires anyone 5 years of age or older to show proof that they are fully vaccinated for indoor restaurants, indoor fitness facilities, and indoor entertainment and recreation venues where food or drinks are served from January 3.

The president of the Illinois Restaurant Association released a written statement about the new requirements which reads:

Chicago’s hotel community is in a very fragile recovery phase. Throughout the pandemic, the industry has prioritized the safety of customers and team members above all else, and the IRA strongly supports vaccinations for everyone to mitigate the spread of the virus. COVID-19. We encourage all diners to extend their cooperation, respect and kindness to the employees who are working to comply with the new mandate during these difficult times.

Restaurant workers are not required to be vaccinated but must provide weekly negative COVID-19 tests and wear a mask when dealing with customers.

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Cecil N. Messick