Highland Park City Council votes to keep proof of vaccination mandate

The Highland Park City Council decided Monday night to keep in place a mandate that requires individuals who are dining in at establishments to show proof of vaccination.

The board voted in favor of the mandate extension 5-2. The extension will last until Feb. 14.

The mandate does not apply to gyms or other venues where food and drink are not served.

People against the mandate held a rally over the weekend.

Highland Park has one of the highest vaccination rates in Illinois.

More than 94 percent of the eligible population in Highland Park has had at least one vaccine dose. Eighty-two percent are fully vaccinated.

Because of the COVID surge late last month, Highland Park restaurants have been under an emergency order requiring them to check customers' vaccination status. That emergency order expired on Monday, so the city council voted in the evening to extend it.

There is a group called "Take Back our Town" – which has been very vocal against restaurants requiring proof of vaccination. They sent out a collage of photos of Highland Park restaurants, taken Saturday between 4 and 6 p.m., showing a number of the restaurants sitting empty.


While the Highland Park mayor says the measure is designed to stop the spread and ease pressure on the healthcare system, those against it call it a privacy violation, an over-step and a violation of basic freedoms.

"I think the city council is showing us how they can exert their power over us; and it's up to us to say 'no thank you,'" said Suzanne Wahl of Take Back Our Town.