Lightfoot praises Chicago businesses on first day new vaccine mandate goes into effect

As we continue to fight the pandemic, a big change took effect in Chicago and suburban Cook County on Monday, with many businesses now required to check customers’ vaccination status upon entry.

Not only do businesses need to post signs and verify proof of vaccination, they also need to keep a written record of how they’re doing it. 

As businesses and customers adjust to another new normal – showing proof of vaccination at gyms, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues – some establishments are doing what they can to make the process a seamless one. 

"Actually today went really smooth," said Andrew Ruthe, manager, Gemini.

At Gemini in Lincoln Park, a customer's vaccination status will be noted in their reservation. If they dine there again, their status will already be verified.  

"It was really nice that everybody was very understanding and everybody kind of came together and was like, this is the way it’s going to be for a little bit to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy, and they were just very supportive of us," said Ruthe. 

Fitness studios like Club Pilates on North Clybourn Avenue are handling the city's requirement similarly. Once a client submits their status, they won't need to do it again. 

"We can see next to their name that they’ve submitted their proof," said Abby Phelps, owner, Club Pilates Lincoln Park.


Mayor Lori Lightfoot, on Monday, visited the Pilates studio and other businesses to thank them for following the new requirement. 

Meanwhile, doctors say it's unclear how long this surge will last.

"I think it’s important for our society to move forward, and we just all need to do our part to try and flatten this peak and get over it as soon as possible," said Dr. Michael Lin, infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist with Rush University Medical Center.

Similar to the city's mask mandate, establishments that violate the vaccine requirement are at risk of being cited. 

The City of Chicago has hosted a series of business education webinars on the vaccine requirement. Its next webinar will be held Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. Those wishing to join the webinar can register online.