CHICAGO (CBS) –We received a curious email Tuesday from the Mayor’s Office, which proudly boasted in bold print that there had been no mask breaches at Chicago businesses from December 23-26.
Oh good? All over town – was everyone wearing their mask all the time?
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We hope to find out more about what is going on there. But this development also came as the city is on the verge of cracking down on the COVID-19 vaccination requirement in public places. We wanted to know how this would be applied.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina asked the city for answers on Tuesday. We have learned that some companies are confused as to how the vaccine proof requirement is going to play out. So we asked the city questions directly about how the law is applied, how it actually unfolds, and what to expect.
Beginning January 3, everyone aged 5 and over will need documentation to enter any Chicago restaurant, gym, or entertainment venue that serves food and drink. They will need proof of vaccination and, for those over 16, a piece of identification.
As businesses gear up to implement the policy, announced by Mayor Lightfoot last week, some are still struggling to find a way to make it work – quickly.
“We are constantly flying by the seat of our pants,” said Mary Kay Tuzi, owner of Twin Anchors Restaurant and Tavern in Old Town.
Restaurant owners are also trying to understand exactly what the city’s expectations are.
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“No real indication of how we are supposed to proceed,” she said.
So how exactly will the city implement this upcoming mandate?
The section of city website dedicated to execution simply says who can execute the warrant and what can happen if they do.
We were told that it was not possible to interview about this on Tuesday, so we sent the town hall and the city’s business office a number of questions.
The Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Protection said the vaccination requirement will be treated the same as the mask warrant and other health orders:
“On January 3, 2022, the vaccine requirement will be in effect and enforced. As indicated in the public health ordinance 2021-2, article 7 states: In accordance with articles 2-112-040 and 2-112-050 of the Code, in conjunction with the enforcement power granted in the Code, this order may be enforced by the Commissioner of Business and Consumer Protection (BACP), the Commissioner of Buildings or the Chicago Police Department, in addition to the Commissioner of Health.
As with the Mask Mandate, facilities that violate vaccine requirements may receive two citations / charges for violating BACP and CRPD requirements under City of Chicago Public Health Order 2021-02 .
“Anyone aged 5 and over will need to show proof of vaccination to dine indoors, visit gyms or enjoy entertainment venues where food or drink is served. Customers aged 16 and over must present an identity document corresponding to their vaccination record. Customers can prepare to have documents ready on demand from a covered location in the public health order. “
Regarding the execution, the BACP added:
“The application of the vaccine requirement is no different from the mask’s mandate, previous public health orders or general operations.
“BACP’s investigations are based on complaints. Investigations can be conducted covertly if necessary, BACP investigators will identify themselves if a complaint is dealt with openly or covertly. BACP investigators always carry official City ID. Citizens are encouraged to contact 3-1-1 to report violations.
“In addition to handling complaints, the BACP Active Compliance Program (ACP), a proactive educational program that helps business owners / operators remain compliant through non-disciplinary consultations, will notify and call back to the covered location comply with vaccine requirements and mask mandate. .
“BACP reserves the right to pronounce an execution on the basis of the gravity of the violation found during the investigation. The application can vary from a one-day correction notice to quotes issued in real time.
“All are part of a global effort to ensure compliance and hold businesses accountable for these safety regulations designed to keep everyone in Chicago safe.” “
The city did not say if anyone would check the businesses at random. Again, they only said the investigations were motivated by complaints.
All of this can be enforced by the BACP, the Department of Buildings, and the Chicago Police Department. Despite some setbacks, the deadline is still Monday January 3.
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Meanwhile, Illinois Restaurant Association President and CEO Sam Toia issued the following statement:
“The Chicago hotel community is in a very fragile recovery phase. Throughout the pandemic, the industry has prioritized the safety of customers and team members above all else, and the IRA strongly supports vaccinations for everyone to mitigate the spread of COVID- 19. We encourage all diners to lend their cooperation, respect and kindness to the employees who are working to comply with the new mandate during these difficult times. “