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Chicago Targets Late March For Restaurant Worker Vaccinations

Restaurant workers have a tentative date they can put into their calendars

Chicago’s Roseland Community Hospital Administers Covid Vaccinations To Hospital Staff
A worker at Roseland Community Hospital is injected with a COVID-19 vaccine.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

It will take two months, but restaurant workers finally have a target date to when they will be prioritized to take COVID-19 vaccinations. Chicago is currently prioritizing residents 65 and over, as well as health care and nursing home workers. Officals also focusing on essential workers who aren’t on the frontline including grocery and liquor store workers and those in food manufacturing. That cohort also contains brewery and distillery employees.

As Chicago has partially restored indoor dining at a 25 percent capacity or 25 people — which ever is smaller — logic would dictate that vaccinations for restaurant workers would come soon. The city is targeting March 29 to when the next phase of vaccination would begin. That phase, 1C, covers essential workers not covered in the prior two phases. This means restaurant workers can circle that date tentatively. Those with underlying conditions, ages 16 to 64, are in the same group.

The March 29 date will only hold if the vaccine rollout is timely, and there’s currently room for pessimism. At 5.1 percent, Illinois ranks 47th out of all 50 states when it comes to percent of residents who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine injection. The U.S. average is 6.5 percent, according to data compiled by the New York Times — though that data could be skewed by the number of health care workers in Illinois. The Land of Lincoln has the sixth-most employees in the health care sector in the country, according to one study. These stats have led to some locals feeling Chicago, and the rest of the state, is falling behind.

Though there are exceptions due to some illnesses and disabilities, employers can require workers to take a vaccine as a condition of employment. Vaccines are being distributed by health care providers, pharmacies, and employers. More information on registration can be found here.