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'Inconvenient by design': Chicago to impose proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirement for people to enter some indoor facilities

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Individuals in Chicago will soon be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter indoor gyms, indoor dining facilities, and indoor entertainment facilities that serve food or drinks.

During remarks on Tuesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, said that for those who remain unvaccinated, "it's time for a change. If you wish to live life as normally as possible ... you must be vaccinated in the city of Chicago starting January 3rd. This health order may pose an inconvenience to the unvaccinated," she said, adding that it "is inconvenient by design."

The mandate, which will take effect Jan. 3, will require most people ages 5 and older to supply proof of vaccination to enter the specified indoor spaces.

People over 16 must also supply identification that matches the information on their proof of vaccination, according to the order. A press release about the order says that this applies to people ages 16 and older.

Some of the various exceptions include people who are briefly entering a facility for under 10 minutes to place an order and carry out food, utilize the restroom, or make a delivery.

Nonresident performers and professional athletes who enter a facility for work, and the people accompanying them, are also exempt. Another exception is carved out for people who furnish both proof of a medical or religious exemption and a negative test that was taken within the prior 72 hours. Other exceptions include people 18 and younger who go to a facility to engage in some sort of school-organized activity. Individuals going into a facility in order to vote in a municipal, state, or federal election would also be exempt, as would anyone accompanying them.

Businesses must ensure their unvaccinated workers supply a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis, according to the press release.

Houses of worship and K-12 schools are among some of the entities that are not subject to the mandate.

Chicago is joining the ranks of other major U.S. cities that have also announced similar proof of vaccination requirements.

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