Thousands of Cook County businesses now required to ask for proof of vaccination

As new rules went into effect Monday in Chicago and Cook County requiring proof of vaccination at certain indoor businesses, word was spreading about a protest Tuesday in suburban Park Ridge.

Bars, restaurants, theaters, health clubs, museums and more are now required to ask patrons to show their vaccination cards. The rule applies to anyone five and older. Businesses were asked to display signs explaining the new rule, and to determine who and how to check vaccination cards.

County officials blame the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, particularly from the Omicron variant, for the new restriction.

Residents in Park Ridge had mixed reactions.

"Absolutely not a problem. Everybody should be vaccinated – double vaxxed whatever it is," said Dennis DePaola, who said he just had COVID, but it was a "light" case with "just sneezes."

But others plan to take part in a protest over the new requirement Tuesday morning at Park Ridge City Hall.

"The main thing Is that we are concerned about our children... having kids growing up in a world where basically they are seeing segregation. One group of people allowed in places and another group not being allowed. And we think that could have damaging psychological consequences," said a woman who did not give her name.

She added that some moms are concerned about children being banned from things like swim classes and dance lessons even though they're not sick.

"We would like the mayor to make a formal announcement that the mandate will not be enforced here. Other mayors in some other cities ... have already done so and we just want our City behind us," she said.

Mayors in Orland Park, Tinley Park, and Burr Ridge have all said they plan to ignore it.