Highland Park City Council votes to extend proof-of-vaccination order

COVID Vaccination Card
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HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Highland Park’s City Council extended its proof-of-vaccination requirement, but not without objection.

Several restaurant owners said the city’s temporary order requiring proof of vaccination for on-premise dining establishments is hurting business.

Councilman Andres Tapia echoed their concern during the Monday night council meeting, noting Highland Park is the only city in Lake County with the order.

“The vaccination proof requirement to eat at a restaurant is targeting a very small percentage of where people spend their time, which is like putting a finger in the dike in trying to make a difference,” Tapia said. “And in the meantime, our restaurants are losing customers through our neighboring communities.”

Still, a majority of council members voted to extend the temporary proof-of-vaccination order which began Jan. 7 through Feb. 14.

Mayor Nancy Rotering said more than 80 percent of Highland Park residents are fully vaccinated and close to 95 percent have received at least one dose.

“We've received many emails and communications from individuals outside of our community objecting to, to our proof of vaccination requirement, and of course, we respect the first amendment and the right to speak out, but our first obligation is to our residents and to their safety and to those who work within our local economy,” Rotering said.

"We are in a battle against a virus. We are not in a battle against each other. We are all in a battle against a very deadly virus."

Restaurants that fail to comply with the order are first issued a warning. If another complaint is received, an inspector visits the property and a notice of violation may be formally issued.

A citation may be issued to businesses who fail to comply, up to $750, according to the city.