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Vaccine Card Requirement Starts January 3rd

The Chicago Public Health Department announced new requirements for checking vaccine cards for patrons of bars, restaurants and gyms. This mainly affects businesses that serve food and drink or allow patrons to remove masks for an extended amount of time. Cook County has also announced a countywide vaccine mandate as well. The Cook County Department of Public Health issued Thursday a new mitigation order for suburban Cook County. The orders for City and County will go into effect Jan. 3

This decision was made based on the alarming rising numbers of COVID positive cases, the amount of COVID related hospitalizations, and other metrics. This is also a practice being implemented in many other major cities. For more data, please click here.

The City of Chicago mask mandate also remains in effect for all public indoor settings. The new order does not affect this mask requirement. The order will remain in effect until the City of Chicago is through this Omicron-driven surge and the risk of overwhelming hospital capacity has passed.

Effective Monday, January 3, 2022, the Chicago Vaccine Requirements will apply to the following public indoor places. This will apply to patrons age 5 and older and patrons age 16 and over will also need to provide identification that matches their vaccination record to enter specific Chicago businesses.

For employees of these venues and establishments that are not fully vaccinated, the employer must ensure that these employees both continue to mask when interacting with patrons and provide proof of a weekly negative COVID-19 test.

  • Indoor Dining: Establishments where food or beverages are served, including, but not limited to, restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, coffee shops, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, dining areas of grocery stores, breweries, wineries, distilleries, banquet halls, and hotel ballrooms

  • Indoor Fitness: Gyms and fitness venues, including, but not limited to, gyms, recreation facilities, fitness centers, yoga, Pilates, cycling, barre and dance studios, hotel gyms, boxing and kickboxing gyms, fitness boot camps, and other facilities used for conducting indoor group fitness classes

  • Indoor entertainment and recreation venues where food or beverages are served: Including, but not limited to, movie theaters, music and concert venues, live performance venues, adult entertainment venues, commercial event and party venues, sports arenas, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms, family entertainment centers, play areas, pool and billiard halls, and other recreational game centers

The vaccine requirement does not include:

  • Schools and day cares

  • Houses of worship

  • Grocery stores (though indoor dining sections within grocery stores would be included)

  • Locations in O’Hare International Airport or Midway International Airport

  • Locations in a residential or office building the use of which is limited to residents, owners, or tenants of that building

  • Food service establishments providing only charitable food services, such as soup kitchens

Proof of vaccination means a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or an official immunization record from the jurisdiction, state, or country where the vaccine was administered or a digital or physical photo of such a card or record, reflecting the person’s name, vaccine brand, and date administered.

Establishments will be required to develop and keep a written record describing the protocol for implementing and enforcing the vaccine requirement. Also, establishments will be required to prominently post signage at each publicly accessible entrance to the covered location and at least one location inside the covered location that is conspicuously visible, informing patrons of the vaccination requirement.

The following individuals are exempted from the vaccine requirement:

  • Individuals entering an establishment for less than 10 minutes for ordering and carrying out food; delivering goods; or using the bathroom;

  • A nonresident performing artist who does not regularly perform or render services in a covered location, or a nonresident individual accompanying such a performing artist, while the performing artist or individual is in a covered location for the purposes of such artist’s performance;

  • A nonresident professional athlete or a nonresident individual accompanying such professional athlete, who enters a covered location as part of their regular employment for purposes of the professional athlete/sports team competition;

  • Individuals who have previously received a medical or religious exemption (e.g. from an employer), provided such patrons show the establishment proof of the medical or religious exemption and a COVID-19 test administered by a medical professional within the last 72 hours prior to entering.

  • An individual 18 years of age or younger who enters a covered location to participate in an activity organized by a school or after-school program offered by any pre-kindergarten through grade twelve public or non-public school; and

  • An individual who enters for the purposes of voting in a municipal, state, or federal election; or, pursuant to law, assisting or accompanying a voter or observing such election.

Businesses seeking more information and guidance should visit

The City of Chicago will be holding informational webinars to provide an overview of the vaccine requirement:

Wednesday, December 29 at 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, January 4 at 2:00 p.m.

To register for a webinar, please visit



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