City Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. updates the press and public on the course of the pandemic on Feb. 1. --Screenshot from a City of Chicago Facebook livestream

City Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. updates the press and public on the course of the pandemic on Feb. 1. --Screenshot from a City of Chicago Facebook livestream

Ease off vax regs, aldermen ask

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Quinn, Burke, Tabares say regs ‘cripple’ businesses 

By Tim Hadac

With numbers of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases falling across the city, the three aldermen serving Clearing and Garfield Ridge are among 11 City Council members who last week called on Chicago Department of Public Health Allison Arwady, M.D. to rescind a pandemic regulation many have called anti-business.

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Alderman Marty Quinn

Public Health Order No. 2021-2 (issued Dec. 21 and amended Jan. 26) requires any person age 5 or older to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to dine indoors, visit gyms or enjoy entertainment venues where food or drink are being served.

The order requires businesses and other establishments to develop and keep a written record describing the protocol for implementing and enforcing the requirements of the order. Those written record must available for inspection by city inspectors.

A number of businesses across the city, including several in Clearing and Garfield Ridge, have found themselves slapped with $2,000 fines for alleged failure to comply.

Aldermen Marty Quinn (13th), Edward M. Burke (14th) and Silvana Tabares (23rd) all signed the Feb. 9 letter.

Citing declining COVID-19 case numbers, the aldermen said, “…the science tells us it is time to loosen the regulations that crippled both virus and business alike.

“Restaurants and bars have been crushed by the mask and vaccine mandates,” the aldermen continued. “The numbers prove we are no longer in an emergency, as positivity rates have are close to where Chicago was at the start of last year’s Lollapalooza.”

With an eye on Chicagoans heading out to bars and restaurants for Valentine’s Day, as well as Super Bowl Sunday, the aldermen asked Arwady to rescind the order by Friday, Feb. 11.

As of the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound’s printing deadline, Arwady had not responded to the request.

At a public update on the pandemic on Feb. 1, Arwady said the COVID-19 trends in Chicago are “looking quite good” and the easing of her public orders “could occur relatively soon.”

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City Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. updates the press and public on the course of the pandemic on Feb. 1. –Screenshot from a City of Chicago Facebook livestream

“I want to be able to lift this [public health order]…but only at a time where we’re confident it won’t lead to a major rebound or unnecessarily put more folks at risk,” she added.

Arwady said she continues to base pandemic mitigation measures not on the calendar but “how the outbreak is behaving.”

“I don’t have a timeline on it,” she added. “I’m not changing. I’m not pushing the deadline.”

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