What Chicago’s COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Means for Families

Patrons ages 5 or older will have to show their vaccination card at certain indoor establishments.

UPDATE (12/23/2021): Cook County Department of Public Health announced that they will issue a similar COVID-19 vaccine requirement for businesses serving food and drinks beginning Jan. 3. Find more details on their website.

Some Chicago businesses will begin to require a valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 3 due to a new COVID-19 surge related to the Omicron variant, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Tuesday,

Individuals ages 5 or older will have to show their vaccination card at indoor public places such as restaurants, bars and gyms. City officials say the new requirement is in response in the rise of COVID-19 cases in Chicago and across the United States. We break down what else you need to know about the Chicago Vaccine Requirement.

What locations are requiring proof of vaccination?

  • Indoor dining (restaurants, bars, coffee shops, cafeterias, etc.)
  • Indoor gym and fitness venues
  • Indoor entertainment and recreation venues where food or beverages are served. This can include movie theaters, music and concert venues, bowling alleys, sports arenas, performing art theaters, etc.

Who is required to show valid proof of vaccine?

All patrons ages 5 and older must show proof of vaccination at required locations. These patrons must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, meaning two weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer, Moderna) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen).

What about kids that aren’t eligible to receive the vaccination yet?

Kids under 5 who are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccination must continue to wear a face mask, except when eating and drinking. Children ages 2 and under are not required to wear a mask.

What’s a valid proof of vaccination?

Patrons must show a valid photo ID (only for ages 16 and older) and one of the following:

  • COVID-19 vaccination card
  • Photocopy of vaccination card
  • Digital record or app
  • Printed record from vaccine provider

What businesses are exempt from requiring proof of vaccination?

  • Houses of worship
  • Grocery stores (not including their indoor dining sections)
  • Locations in O’Hare International Airport or Midway International Airport
  • K-12 schools and day cares
  • Locations in residential or office buildings
  • Food service establishments providing only charitable food services (soup kitchens)

Is anyone else exempt from the vaccine requirement?

  • Individuals entering an establishment for less than 10 minutes to order or carry out food
  • Individuals ages 18 or younger participating in an activity organized by a school or after-school program
  • Individuals who have previously received a medical or religious exemption (must show proof and a COVID-19 test administered by a medical professional within 72 hours before entering the location

Visit chicago.gov for more information on the Chicago Vaccine Requirement. Note: Some Chicagoland businesses might implement their own COVID-19 safety protocols and requirements for patrons. Please check ahead with the location before visiting in person! 


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