Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,
The City of Chicago officially enters phase 1c of the vaccine rollout on Monday, March 29th. All essential workers and adults with underlying medical conditions will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. People in phases 1a and 1b also still remain eligible for the vaccine.
While the list of those eligible expands, vaccine supply and appointments are still very limited and patience will be key. Phase 1c will roll out over several weeks, and the vaccine will be offered to all eligible Chicagoans as soon as larger quantities become available.
Currently, vaccination is available by appointment only for eligible individuals. The best way to schedule an appointment is by contacting your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, go to Zocdoc.com/vaccine (the City’s vaccine appointment tool) or Chicago.gov/VaccineFinder to find a vaccine provider nearby.
Seniors and people with underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to severe illness or death from COVID-19 and are highly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Underlying conditions include, for example, people with cancer, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, heart conditions, immunosuppressed states after a transplant, obesity, pregnancy, pulmonary disease, or sickle cell disease. A complete list of eligible conditions is on the City’s vaccine website at chicago.gov/covidvax.
Additionally, beginning on Monday, City of Chicago-run vaccination sites will only schedule appointments for Chicago residents, and no children under age 18 will be allowed on site. While government-issued ID is not required, these sites will also require proof of residency – more than 30 different documents will be accepted, a full list can be found on the City’s website.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free to everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status. You cannot be denied a vaccine if you do not have insurance. For the latest information on Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout visit chicago.gov/covidvax.
Updated COVID-19 Regulations
After three months of consistent decline or stability in our COVID-19 health metrics, the City has seen a worrying rise in all metrics over the last few weeks. Positivity rates and total cases have increased significantly and, most alarmingly, Emergency Department visits for COVID-like illness have increased by 38% in the last week alone.
- Due to this alarming increase in health metrics, the City of Chicago earlier this week announced updates to the COVID-19 regulations that keep most indoor limits in place while allowing for cautious increases in outdoor spaces that are less conducive to virus spread. The following outdoor capacity changes took effect on March 25:
- Bars and Restaurants: Maximum outdoor table size can increase to ten people, with tables set up so that patrons are six feet from patrons at other tables. Indoor table size remains limited to no more than six people.
- Social Events (e.g. weddings, potlucks and other community events): Total outdoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people
- Performance Venues, Theaters and Seated Spectator Events: Outdoor venues with capacity greater than or equal to 200 can operate at 25% capacity. Smaller venues can operate at no more than 50% capacity or 50 people.
- Outdoor Recreation: Maximum groups of 50; multiple groups permitted
- Places of Worship: No outdoor capacity limit provided that six feet of social distancing is maintained between parties
- Health and Fitness Centers: Outdoor classes can increase to 100 people
In each setting, six feet of physical distance must be maintained between different parties, meaning that facilities may need to operate at a lower capacity to achieve six feet between all parties. Additionally, in order to ensure proper enforcement and safety across industries, all patrons will continue to count towards capacity limits, even if they are fully vaccinated or have a recent negative test.
There have been two changes to indoor regulations in order to ensure consistency and safety: seating at the bar/counter at restaurants or bars is now limited to four per party, with six feet between parties, and indoor fitness classes can increase to 50 people, provided that the total room capacity remains under the 50% limit and six feet of distancing is maintained between patrons, with face coverings worn at all times. Additionally, as a reminder, social distancing regulations at bars, restaurants and events have been updated: tables must now be spaced so that patrons are six feet away from patrons at other tables.
For a full update on these COVID-19 regulations visit Chicago.gov/reopening. In order to help businesses navigate these new guidelines, BACP will hold a webinar on Monday, March 29 at 3:30pm. Register and learn more at chicago.gov/businesseducation.
Protections for Workers Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot introduced on Wednesday, March 24, an ordinance that would establish labor protections for Chicago workers that take time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Under the proposal, employers are prohibited from taking any adverse action – including termination, demotion, layoff or punitive schedule changes – against an employee for taking time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Furthermore, if a worker has paid sick leave or other accrued time available, employers must allow their employees to use that time off to receive the vaccine. Finally, if an employer requires a worker to be vaccinated, it must compensate the worker for the time taken to receive the vaccine if it is during a shift, up to two hours per dose.
The proposed ordinance would expand the protections guaranteed under the Anti-Retaliation Ordinance that passed City Council in May 2020. That ordinance, which remains in effect, protects all workers from any retaliatory action from their employer if they are unable to work due to public health directive or COVID-19 related illness. Employers that violate this ordinance are subject to fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 per offense.
Chi COVID Coach
Stay informed on Chicago’s vaccination progress by signing up for Chi COVID Coach. We will use this app to provide you with information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Chicago, as well as how and where you can get vaccinated when it is your turn. Registration is free and your information will be protected.
Holocaust Survivors Receive Lifesaving COVID-19 Vaccine
More than 130 Chicago-area Holocaust survivors are getting protected from COVID-19, thanks to a partnership of organizations including Agudath Israel of Illinois, Hatzalah Chicago, and The Chicago Center Refuah 311. With vaccine supplied by the City of Chicago, the partners have been hosting twice-weekly vaccination clinics at a North Side school gymnasium for seniors, teachers, health care providers and more.
Many, like Leonie Bergman, were referred for vaccination by the Holocaust Community Services program of CJE SeniorLife, which reached out to hundreds of survivors in coordination with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Leonie is an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, who got her first dose of vaccine on March 7.
Staffed exclusively by volunteers from healthcare and community organizations, the clinic offers translation services in Russian, Yiddish, Polish, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean and Chinese to serve seniors from across the diverse communities in Chicago.
The Chicago Department of Public Health has been focused on vaccinating seniors age 65+ in March with several initiatives specifically for these individuals. To date, half of Chicagoans age 65+ has received at least one dose.
Water Bill Help is Here!
If you’re struggling with your water utility bill, the City’s Utility Billing Relief (UBR) program is here to help! In partnership with CEDA, we’re giving eligible Chicagoans a 50% rate reduction AND no shut off, penalties, or debt collection on their City of Chicago utility bills while enrolled in the program. Plus, at the time you enroll any past due balance will also be set aside for forgiveness – all you have to do is complete one year in the program to have that debt forgiven.
See if you’re eligible and apply today at Chicago.gov/UBR.
Chicago Emergency Travel Order
As of March 23, Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order includes 26 states:
- Yellow list: Iowa, Ohio, Mississippi, New Mexico, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Kansas, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Washington, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, District of Columbia, and Kentucky
- Orange list: New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Delaware, Georgia, Connecticut, Colorado, North Carolina, Vermont, Alabama, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Alaska, Virginia, New Hampshire, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, West Virginia, Maryland, and Maine.
The guidance for each tier is:
- Yellow: States with a rolling 7-day average less than 15 cases/day/100k residents.
- No quarantine or pre-arrival test required. Maintain strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
- Orange: States have a rolling 7-day average above 15 cases/day/100k residents
- 10-day quarantine OR pre-arrival negative test no more than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago with strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings OR
- Be fully vaccinated, as defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after one dose of a single-dose vaccine and not have symptoms
The next update will be Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Fore more information, visit chi.gov/eto.
COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Resources
All Chicagoans have full permission to copy or adapt messaging and flyers for their communications. They are free to use and no credit is needed. You may also add your logo next to the CDPH logo. We hope these documents help you answer questions from the community, prepare leadership for press briefings, update website content, write press releases, develop social media posts, and meet other communications needs.
- COVID-19 Vaccine Communications Toolkit
- COVID-19 Vaccine Facts Sheet (English and Spanish)
- Five Things to Know Flyer (English | Spanish | Polish | Arabic | Chinese | Korean)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Community groups and local businesses looking for additional COVID-19 resources including downloadable flyers and signage can visit the City’s COVID-19 website and click on the Resources tab, or click here.