Proof of vaccination mandate faces pushback in Highland Park

Another Chicago suburb is getting pushback over rules that require proof of vaccination to get into certain businesses.

Some residents of Highland Park plan to call for an end to vaccine mandates at a rally this Sunday at Port Clinton Square.

They're calling it a rally for medical freedom and privacy but organizers also claim the requirement for proof of vaccination to get into Highland Park restaurants is killing local businesses.


Suzanne Wahl said she canvassed some 20 restaurants last Saturday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and found empty tables and restaurant owners fearful of losing their livelihoods.

"We were horrified. Every single dining room [on] Saturday, peak day, empty. Look around the town right now. It's empty. Emptying the restaurants has a halo effect on other businesses. I can't imagine we can continue like this very much longer," said Wahl.

But some customers at a local pancake house said they appreciate the concern for their health and safety and continue to frequent area businesses.

"I'm not running a business so I don't know that businesses are hurt. We come here like every week," said Larry Chambers. "So our behavior hasn't changed."

His wife, Naomi Chambers, said, "As far as I'm concerned I will continue to support businesses that promote safety. And providing a vaccination card is another way of showing a restaurant is keeping a clean and healthy operation."

"What's fair to businesses is that we come out of this pandemic. And if we need to do this to come out of it I'm all for it," she said.

But Wahl, who organized Sunday's planned rally, said "I am imploring the City Council when you meet on January 24th, please remove the restaurant mandate.
We are entitled to medical freedom and we're entitled to medical privacy. This is a travesty and it's really a stain on our town."

The rally against the vaccine mandate is this Sunday at noon at Port Clinton square in downtown Highland Park.  Wahl said she also plans to attend Monday's City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. to "send them a loud clear message."