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More And More Chicago Bars, Restaurants, And Other Businesses Are Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination For Entry

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Nearly 54 percent of Chicagoans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to city data, while more than 70 percent of adults in the city have received their first shot.

Now, as CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported Sunday, a growing number of city businesses are starting to require proof of vaccination before entry.

Those businesses include many of the bars in Chicago's main LGBTQ nightlife district along Halsted Street in what was long known as Boystown.

Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St.; Roscoe's Tavern, 3356 N. Halsted St., and D.S. Tequila, 3352 N. Halsted St., all require visitors to get vaxxed to enjoy the perks. Sidetrack and Roscoe's will also accept a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours, but D.S. Tequila – among many other venues – will accept proof of vaccination only.

At both locations of Uncommon Ground, at 3800 N. Clark St. in Lakeview and 1401 W. Devon Ave. in Edgewater, the options are to present proof of vaccination or to wear a mask.

"Show us a vaccine card, a good picture of it on your phone, or the CLEAR app," said Uncommon Ground owner Michael Cameron. "If you are vaccinated, come on in - eat, drink, dine, enjoy yourself If you're not - or most people forget to bring their card and they tell you that they're vaccinated - but we require that they wear a mask."

For Cameron, the signs were there that it was time to put up some signs with some rules.

"You could kind of see it coming – you see like New York doing it and then San Francisco - and then I'm like, all right, Chicago seems to get, you know, in the middle of that maybe a day or two later. Everybody's kind of talking to each other about what's going to happen," Cameron said. "So we decided, OK, let's just roll it out."

MAP: Chicago Bars, Restaurants, And Other Businesses Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination (If You Have An Addition To Make, There Is A Form At This Link)

Earlier this month in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that people would need to show proof in vaccination for indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment.

"When you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone is vaccinated, they can do all the amazing things that are available in New York City," de Blasio said earlier this month. "If you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things."

This past Thursday in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed announced that the city would require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for a variety of indoor activities, including entering bars, restaurants, and gyms.

The mandates are similar to ones issued last month in France and Italy. Chicago presently does not have such a mandate on a citywide level.

However, CBS 2 has tracked at least 49 businesses that are checking vaccination status – though what happens after that varies. While some places like Uncommon Ground will still let in unvaccinated people with a mask, and some will allow for a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours as an alternative, places like D.S. Tequila say no vax, no entry.

D.S. Tequila added in part, "The vaccine is free and has been readily available for months."

"At the end of the day, it's kind of like our lives and our livelihood at risk," said Drew Lovell, co-owner of Bonus Round Game Café at 3230 N. Clark St.

Lovell said keeping the tables for customers who are vaccinated only brings staff peace of mind – and he hopes it will also keep Chicago as a city from sliding backwards.

"Games are all about incentivizing players to, you know, score the most points and stuff like that," Lovell said. "Us mandating vaccines means we're providing incentive for people to hopefully go get vaccinated."

All of the business with whose staff Parra spoke said they have not really received much pushback over the vaccination status rules, but that is probably due in part to the big signs out front that warn people before they even enter.

"We'll get that one in 100 who say, 'Forget about it, I'm not going to do this,' or, 'You can't make me put a mask on,'" Cameron said. "But it's a very small percentage. The majority of people are like: 'Oh, that's great. Thank you so much for doing that.'"

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