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Chicago Could Announce a Restaurant and Bar Mandate on Tuesday

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to call a press conference requiring proof of vaccination for indoor activities such as dining

A medical worker injects a COVID-19 vaccine into a patient’s arm.
Chicago is expected to join other major U.S. cities in issuing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
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.

In a reversal of her pandemic philosophy, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to announce a vaccine mandate on Tuesday, December 21, for indoor businesses — including restaurants and bars — that would go into effect in the new year. Chicago Tonight and WTTW’s Paris Schutz tweets that Lightfoot will make the announcement at a Tuesday news conference that patrons at restaurants, bars, gyms, and other public indoor places must show proof of full vaccination.

Workers at these establishments, including gyms, would have the option — for example, if they’re medically unable to receive a vaccine — to be tested weekly. Chicago Health Department Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwardy hinted in early December that the city was looking into implementing a policy that other large cities like New York and Los Angeles have already adopted.

The definition of “fully boosted” has been debated. What was first considered two weeks after receiving the final initial dose of either the two-jab Pfizer or Moderna, or the single-jab Johnson & Johnson vaccine, has changed after the arrival of booster shots and omicron. On Monday, Baker Miller, the Lincoln Square cafe, was the first Chicago restaurant to announce it would require proof of boosters for dine-in customers.

Beyond Baker Miller, many bars and restaurants have voluntarily mandated proof of vaccination for patrons. That’s created unique working conditions for bar and restaurant workers across the country who are dealing with customers angry about vaccine requirements.