Chicago business owners respond as city announces new COVID vaccination proof warrants – NBC Chicago

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With the city of Chicago averaging more than 1,700 new coronavirus cases a day, health officials are imposing new proof of vaccination requirements and business owners are preparing for rules to take effect in during the new year.

The new rules, announced Tuesday at a press conference with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, will require all customers aged 5 and over to present proof of COVID vaccination in order to enter indoor dining establishments, including restaurants, bars, banquet halls and cafeterias.

The new rules will also impact gyms, dance studios and indoor recreational facilities, according to the mayor, as well as cinemas, concert halls and other indoor entertainment venues.

Brendan McNeill, owner of D4 Irish Pub and Café, says the new rules, while understandable, will pose a challenge to businesses that already struggle to have adequate staff.

“This means that at all times we have to keep the door open,” he said. “As it stands, we are struggling to find people to help us.”

McNeill also echoed the concerns of some business owners who fear customers will be frustrated with the new rules about which employees try to do their jobs.

“I think there is an element of concern,” he said. “These are issues that we will just have to deal with, and I think it’s worth having to deal with in order to ensure safety. “

The new rules come as COVID cases increase in the city. New daily case rates have increased 500% since the end of October and have risen more than 85% in the past two weeks alone, with nearly 1,800 residents a day diagnosed with COVID.

Add to that the growing burden on hospitals and intensive care units, and city health officials say they had no choice but to act.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and health officials unveiled a new COVID mitigation strategy on Tuesday, requiring customers of certain businesses to provide proof of vaccination against the virus. NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern has the details.

“We didn’t want to come to this, but given the situation we have no choice,” said Lightfoot.

Exemptions have been included in the measure for places of worship, grocery stores, O’Hare and Midway airports, residential buildings, schools and daycares.

The measure will take effect Jan. 3, and while McNeill says he knows the new mitigation measures will pose challenges, he hopes the rules will make customers and employees safer and healthier.

“At the end of the day, it’s about trying to beat this terrible disease that’s going on, and I think staff and customers will feel safer,” he said.

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