(Source: Chicago Tribune) – Chicago might mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for access to certain public spaces as the omicron variant arrived in a city still grappling with an existing surge that has blown up caseloads to levels not seen in almost a year.
City public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady gave few details Tuesday on the potential requirement, an idea that has been implemented in other areas of the U.S. but took longer for Chicago authorities to warm up to.
She said proof of vaccination as a tactic for stemming coronavirus transmission appealed to her more than returning to stricter restrictions.
“Might we begin requiring proof of vaccination for more activities and public spaces? Yes, I think we might,” Arwady said during an online question-and-answer session. “I certainly am more interested in that than I am in needing to do some of the major shutdowns.”
Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said the state “is not considering proof-of-vaccine for activities and public spaces at this time.”
In August — at the time New York City announced its “Key to NYC” proof-of-vaccination requirement — Arwady said the concept of a vaccine passport to get into indoor restaurants, bars and gyms “interested” her, but it was not the right moment for Chicago, where residents appeared more resistant. Instead, local officials focused their energy on improving vaccination rates and once again mandating masks indoors.
Arwady noted that some businesses have taken it upon themselves to card patrons for proof-of-vaccination on their own, which she approved of, but with the spread of the emerging omicron variant in the U.S. and an ongoing surge of the highly contagious delta variant, there may be more such requirements on a city level. Major events such as last summer’s Lollapalooza music festival already required entrants to have proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Read Full Article >