Cook County follows Chicago with COVID-19 vaccination mandate for patrons of restaurants, gyms and other businesses

Cook County will follow Chicago in imposing a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for patrons 5 and older of restaurants, bars, gyms and an assortment of other businesses, officials announced Thursday.

The mandate for suburban Cook County takes effect Monday, Jan. 3, as does Chicago’s.

The indoor establishments that will be required to ask for proof of vaccination status also include gyms and anywhere else food and drink are served, according to a copy of the COVID-19 order from the Cook County Department of Public Health. That encompasses movie theaters, concert venues, arcades, sports arenas and more.

Those who are 16 and older also must show an ID, such as a driver’s license, that matches with vaccination card.

The patrons must be fully vaccinated, meaning they are two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Cook County officials continue to urge people to get booster shots.

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Proof of vaccination documents include official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cards, an official immunization record, a digital app that records vaccinations or a digital or physical photo of the card.

The order does not apply to those ordering carryout at restaurants and bars, performing artists or professional athletes. It also does not cover churches, schools, office buildings or soup kitchens.

Employees of the affected businesses are exempt from the vaccination mandate if they test negative for COVID-19 weekly, under the county order.

Businesses that violate the order can be fined, according to a news release from the county health department.

The new order is the latest move by suburban county officials to stem the tide of the coronavirus as the highly contagious omicron variant has dominated the country. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday instituted a similar requirement for the city. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has not moved to do the same statewide.

Suburban Cook County remains at a high community transmission level, with a 7.8% test positivity rate and a daily case rate of more than 500 per 100,000 residents. The region’s intensive care unit capacity is at 10.8%.

Check back for updates.

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