PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge throughout the country, certain cities are introducing new mitigations.
Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced yesterday that all bars, restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues must require proof of vaccination for entrance.
In a press conference, Lightfoot said, “I’ve not been this concerned about COVID-19 since the early days of the pandemic.”
Here in Central Illinois, the McLean County Health Department reported more than 100 new COVID cases since yesterday. The Peoria County Health Department tracked almost 300 new confirmed cases since yesterday as well.
But before any Chicago lookalike policies trickle down to Central Illinois, Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich said they’ll wait and see, and listen to the experts.
“I think that it’s really something that we would continue to monitor– the levels of positivity in our community and look to hear the advice of our local health professionals before we do anything very similar to what Chicago is doing,” Urich said.
Urich said he encourages all Peoria residents to get vaccinated and boosted, but he said at this time, no such conversations about requiring proof of vaccination are on the table.
“It’s a concern that I think everyone has to take very seriously, looking at the heightened levels of positivity,” he said. “And I think that’s something we would have to take into consideration, we’d want to hear from the health professionals, we’d want to hear from the hospitals before we would move forward with any kind of measure like this.”
WMBD reached out to other Central Illinois city leaders, many of whom have yet to respond. In Washington, leaders say the matter has also not been considered.