Home City park Highland Park City Council extends proof of vaccination order – NBC Chicago

Highland Park City Council extends proof of vaccination order – NBC Chicago

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Highland Park City Council decided on Monday to extend a temporary order requiring proof of vaccination.

The order requiring proof of vaccination for the “on-site dining establishment” began Jan. 7 and was extended to Feb. 14 at Monday night’s council meeting.

“It’s January, so we’re not setting any records, but at the same time, we’re losing 15 to 30 people a day,” said Bluegrass restaurant owner Jim Lederer.

Lederer and other restaurateurs say the mandate hurts their bottom line and drives many customers to eat elsewhere.

“Since Highland Park is the only community outside of Cook County in the State of Illinois, leave it on a level playing field. No one else is. So why should we ?”

Currently, restaurants that do not comply with the order first receive a warning. If another complaint is received, an inspector visits the property and a Notice of Violation may be formally issued. A citation can be issued to businesses that do not comply, up to $750, depending on the city.

“I don’t understand their purpose in trying to do this to corporations. It’s mind-boggling to me. And it’s upsetting,” said Jeff Gorbena, owner of Tamales a Mexican Joint.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been down at least 50% overall. It’s brutal here,” Gorbena said.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 82.39% of Highland Park residents are fully immunized. And in Tamales, there are signs on the tables that say their staff are fully vaccinated. But, says Gorbena, it comes down to freedom and choice.

“I 100% believe it plays a big role in people going elsewhere for their dining cravings and needs,” he said.

“I’ve had people specifically reach out and say they feel bad, sorry they’re not coming. They’re only going to what they would call a ‘free village’ or a ‘free town’. Highland Park just sees it differently.”