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Chicago’s vaccine mandate began Monday, January 3 as COVID-19 cases skyrocket yet again.

With a rapidly shifting virus, curtailing the spread of COVID-19 and its omicron variant is a daunting challenge.  City of Chicago (and Cook County, IL) have implemented new requirements for select businesses that are expected to require proof of vaccination for extended time inside.  This mandate affects bars and restaurants — plus gyms, stadiums and other entertainment and recreation venues where food and drinks are served.

How will restaurants and bars navigate the mandate?

What can customers expect?

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Those looking to dine or drink inside restaurants and bars must provide proof of vaccination for all patrons including children over the age of 5 who are dining. Important: Photo identification is required for anyone 16 and older with a name matching the name on the proof of vaccination (which can be in print or digital).

Restaurant workers are able to show a negative test result in lieu of proof of vaccination, but customers can do so only with an exemption, such as medical or religious.

Proof of vaccination is not required to pick up takeout orders or to sit outside.

Fitness facilities are still expected to comply, but most have a different relationship with patrons and often manage return visits that can be documented to show the status has been previously confirmed.

The City has pledged to monitor compliance, and businesses ignoring the requirements will be subject to fines and possibly temporary closure  in instances of egregious mismanagement.

Businesses can contact the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection by e-mail: for specific inquiries and visit

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