Local Business Owners Respond to Requirement for Proof of Vaccination | Chicago News

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Starting January 3, anyone 5 years of age and older will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in public indoor spaces in Chicago.

The mandate – which will affect bars, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and other venues – is enacted by city officials in an attempt to curb the increase in cases of omicron variants. People 16 years of age and over must also present their identity document to verify the vaccination card. Those who are not vaccinated will be required to show proof of weekly negative COVID-19 tests.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 71% of Cook County’s population is fully vaccinated, while the region’s test positivity rate is 7.6%.

Mark Liberson, owner of Replay Bar and Restaurant in Andersonville, has been requiring customers to show proof of vaccination since August. He said the vaccine’s mandate would help limit the spread of the increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.

“One of the reasons why the [vaccine mandate] could be useful is that it could prevent people from doing what they want to do unless they are vaccinated, ”he said. “And, maybe, we’ll have more universal vaccinations and fewer variants in the future. And, hopefully, fewer people are infected. “

Melissa Ocampo, an employee at her mother’s restaurant Pozoleria Iguala in Logan Square, said her business would suffer because of the tenure.

“For us who work with the [vaccine mandate] will be a little difficult because [some] people already do not respect the [mask mandate], “she said.” I’m pretty sure people have a lot of opinions on the [mandate]. Some of them do not want to be vaccinated. It certainly has an impact on our small business.

If they have to follow the rules, “if it was up to us, we wouldn’t [enforce] a vaccination mandate because a lot of people are not vaccinated, ”Ocampo added. “It will be difficult, but we always follow the rules. “

Jeff Piejak, founder of Ultimate Ninjas Chicago in Albany Park, agrees with Ocampo. He said children and parents who attend his gymnasium will likely be absent when the mandate goes into effect. Piejak said 30% of his clients expressed concerns about the mandate.

“We have staff who need to be paid,” he said. “Our workers rely on paychecks. When the volume [of clients are down] – not having enough children and [parents] in our gyms, it’s going to be a problem. And I hope [the mandate] goes away quickly.


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