Pritzker endorses Lightfoot's new Chicago vaccine mandate, will he apply it statewide?

On Wednesday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker endorsed Mayor Lori Lightfoot's latest vaccine mandate in Chicago.

But Republican candidates are denouncing the mandate as they gear up for an election challenge.

A Republican candidate for governor who was kicked off the floor of the General Assembly for not wearing a facemask blasted Pritzker and Lightfoot for the Chicago vaccine mandate.

"I’m actually appalled. I wonder when in the world these poor people are gonna understand what ‘freedom’ means and understand what a constitutional society [is]. These businesses are the ones they're putting a heavy hand on and hurting. And it's an absolute disgrace to the people of Illinois that this is taking place," State Sen. Darren Bailey said.

While there are exemptions for churches, grocery stores and a few other businesses, as of Jan. 3rd, bars, restaurants and other places of gathering in Chicago must require proof of vaccination from their patrons in order to let them dine in and/or have access to the establishment.

If a customer is simply picking up food to go, then they do not need to prove they're vaccinated, Lightfoot said.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Pritzker praised the new mandate.

"...Chicago implementing evidence based strategies already at work in other major cities. Illinois was one of the first states to reinstitute a mask mandate and remains one of only a handful of states where masks are required indoors. The Governor has urged local communities to follow the mask mandate, get vaccinated and boosted and physically distance when possible."


Another Republican candidate for governor has filed a lawsuit, which is now at the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to abolish President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for private employers.

"We can't continue to take the bloodbath of businesses shutting down and jobs leaving our state, as we are today," said Gary Rabine.

Rabine said he hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will decide by next week whether to hold a full hearing on his request to overturn Biden's vaccine mandate, which could have repercussions for local mandates, too.

Rabine also weighed in on Pritzker endorsing Lightfoot's new mandate.

"I would expect our governor to applaud this mandate by the mayor. They both have no clue when it comes to what freedom should look like," he said.