Dec. 30, 2021 – The Oak Park Department of Public Health announced today that proof of vaccination will be required for patrons of dining, fitness and entertainment facilities in Oak Park effective Jan. 10.
The public health order comes in response to the current surge of COVID-19 cases and largely mirrors similar vaccine requirements set to go into effect in Chicago and other surrounding communities in suburban Cook County.
The order calls for proof of vaccination for customers age 5 and older at indoor settings where food or drink are served for on-premise consumption, such as restaurants and entertainment venues. The order also applies at fitness centers such as health clubs, yoga studios, recreation centers and dance studios.
Valid proof of vaccination includes a vaccination card, a digital or physical photo of a vaccination card, a digital vaccination record on a smartphone or similar device or a printed record from a vaccine provider. Individuals age 16 and older will also be required to show proof of ID that corresponds to the vaccination proof.
Illinois residents can download a QR code with their vaccine record for easy access on the go using the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Vax Verify immunization portal.
The vaccine requirement is the latest mitigation measure put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 as cases near all-time highs in Oak Park and throughout the region. Health officials largely attribute the surge to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
The Health Department reported 426 new cases among Oak Park residents during the week ending Dec. 28, up from 333 cases the week ending Dec. 21 and 123 cases the week ending Dec. 14.
The vaccine requirement also brings Oak Park into conformity with Chicago and other surrounding communities in suburban Cook County, which announced their vaccine requirements last week.
In addition to getting vaccinated and receiving a booster shot when eligible, health officials recommend layering proven COVID-19 mitigation measures, which include limiting high-risk exposures, wearing masks indoors and in crowded outdoor settings and maintaining social distance from people who don’t live in your household.
Masks have been required in all indoor public facilities in Oak Park since early August. Under the order, businesses must display signage about the mask and vaccine requirements at every entrance and prominently within the facility.
Health officials anticipate the new public health order will remain in effect until the Omicron-driven surge subsides and the risk of overwhelming medical infrastructure in the region has passed.
As of Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health was reporting only 67 of 664 ICU beds being available at hospitals in Region 10, which includes Oak Park and the rest of suburban Cook County.
In the midst of the fast-moving pandemic, local health officials are also reviewing the CDC’s latest recommendations for isolation and quarantine periods issued earlier this week. The Illinois Department of Public Health adopted the recommendations today and Oak Park health officials are reviewing how the changes impact local policy, though no changes to Oak Park’s current isolation and quarantine guidelines have been made at this time.
For the latest Oak Park COVID-19 updates, including local testing status bulletins, case data and other related information, visit www.oak-park.us/covid19.
For the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines in Oak Park, visit www.oak-park.us/vaccine.