Cook County, Illinois issues requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination

On December 23, 2021, Cook County, Illinois issued Public Health Order 2021-11, joining the city of Chicago in requiring that certain indoor establishments (including restaurants, gyms and fitness centers and entertainment venues) are checking the COVID-19 vaccination status of customers aged five and over, effective January 3, 2022. The Cook County order does not affect the Chicago Ordinance and applies only to the suburbs of Cook County, with the exception of Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park, and Stickney Township.

Under the ordinance, “Companies must post signs advising customers of this vaccine requirement. Such signage must be posted at all entrances to the premises and posted in a conspicuous place in an area visible to customers and establishment staff.

Companies “must develop a written protocol providing details on how they will apply [the] Order. ”The county provided a model plan.

Covered establishments

The order requires individuals to provide full proof of vaccination to enter indoor locations “where food or drink is served for on-site consumption, and health and fitness centers,” which include, without limitation, the following:

Indoor catering establishments

Including bars, brasseries, wine and spirits tasting rooms, restaurants, private clubs, country clubs, banquet halls, dining rooms in any public enterprise incidental to the main activity (for example , cafes in grocery stores, restaurants / bars / hotel lounges, other retail stores, etc.) cafes, food courts and food halls.

Event spaces

Including hotel ballrooms and commercial and party event venues and nightclubs.

Indoor leisure and entertainment venues where food or drink is served

Including cinemas, live performance spaces for live theater and music, sports arenas, ice rinks, adult entertainment venues, arcades, bowling alleys, game areas, sports centers family entertainment, pool halls and card game venues.

All interior settings for leisure and exercise

Including health clubs, gymnasiums, fitness centers, hotel fitness centers, recreation centers, yoga studios, cross-training studios, cycling studios, dance studios , gyms, boxing and kickboxing gyms and other facilities with indoor group fitness classes.

Proof of vaccination required

Customers aged five years and over entering Covered Facilities must present valid proof of full vaccination (two weeks after the final dose of vaccine or vaccine series) at Covered Facilities. Proof of vaccination includes:

  • a COVID-19 vaccination record from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);

  • an official vaccination record from the jurisdiction, state or country where the vaccine was administered;

  • an application that provides a digital record of vaccinations; Where

  • a digital or physical photo of such a card or record that includes the name of the person, the brand of the vaccine administered and the date the vaccination was administered.

Persons 16 years of age and over must also present an identity document.

Are employees covered?

Employees must be vaccinated Where show weekly proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The ordinance does not require employers to pay for the test. The order does not specify the test method, but the accompanying Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document states that a rapid test in the presence of the employer is sufficient, in accordance with the vaccination and testing of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Temporary Emergency Standard (ETS).

All companies must comply with Sections 1910.501 (e) and (g) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act regulations regarding the vaccination status and testing of employees, “regardless of the number of their employees” .


“Inside” means any part of a covered business with:

  • a roof or overhang closed on at least three sides; Where

  • a temporary exterior structure that contains several parts and of which less than 50% of the sides are open to allow air circulation; Where

  • an outdoor dining structure intended for individual parties that does not have adequate ventilation to allow four to six air exchanges per hour.

Mandate Mask

All people two years of age and older who can medically tolerate a mask, regardless of their immunization status, should wear masks when indoors in a public place.

Public places

These locations include any common or shared space in (1) a multi-unit residential building or (2) any non-residential building, including, but not limited to, retail stores, restaurants, bars / taverns, health and fitness clubs, museums, hotels, personal services, performance halls, cinemas, commercial buildings, event venues, health facilities, assembly facilities, transportation public and transport centers.

Business needs

Under the order, businesses are required to post signs advising customers and staff that face masks must be worn on the premises. “Such signage must be posted at all entrances to the premises and posted in a conspicuous place in an area visible to customers and staff of the establishment. “

Additionally, masks’ can be removed in restaurants, bars and other food / drink establishments by customers while actively eating / drinking while stationary. Masks can also be removed for certain activities that require their removal, such as shaving the beard or giving facials.

Individual and establishment exemptions to the Order

The following people are exempt from the vaccination requirements of the decree:

  • people entering an establishment for less than 10 minutes to order and / or take away food, make a delivery or use the toilets;

  • non-resident performers and accompanying non-residents who do not perform or render services regularly in a covered establishment, but only while they are in the establishment and for the duration of the performance;

  • non-resident professional athletes and accompanying non-residents entering a covered facility as part of their regular employment for the purpose of professional athlete / sports team competition;

  • persons who have already benefited from a medical or religious exemption, provided that these persons present to the covered establishment proof of the exemption and a COVID-19 test administered by a health professional within the previous 24 hours their entry into a covered establishment;

  • persons 18 years of age or younger entering a covered facility to participate in a school activity or extracurricular program offered by a public or non-public Kindergarten to Grade 12 school; and

  • persons voting in a municipal, state or federal election, or, according to law, assisting or accompanying a voter or observing such an election.

The following establishments are exempt from the decree:

  • places of worship;

  • kindergarten to grade 12 schools, preschools and daycares; and

  • indoor spaces in a residential or office building, the use of which is limited to residents, owners or tenants of this building.


Investigations into possible violations of the ordinance may be conducted by city staff, county health officials, local police, or the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Citations can be issued for violations of any section of the order, and administrative action can be taken if companies do not comply.

Time limit

The order says it “will remain in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency as declared by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, or until the Department of Cook County Public Health decides in writing that the threat to public safety has diminished to the point that this executive order can be safely repealed.

© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC, All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 1

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