Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Tuesday that Chicago will require residents to show proof of vaccination to enter certain establishments amid a rise in hospitalizations.

The Democrat published a thread on Twitter that said "we have no choice" to crack down because the city is experiencing its "highest" hospitalization rates since last winter and deaths at a higher rate than in recent months.

"We didn't want it to get to this point, but given the situation we find ourselves in, we have no choice," Lightfoot said.


Starting on Jan. 3, Chicago will begin requiring residents to "show proof" that they have been fully vaccinated in order to enter establishments such as "bars, restaurants, fitness centers, and entertainment/recreational venues where food/drink are served," Lightfoot said.

There are some exemptions to the mandate for indoor spaces.

"To put it simply, if you have been living vaccine-free, your time is up," Lightfoot wrote. "If you wish to live life as w/the ease to do the things you love, you must be vax'd."

Lightfoot said the new requirements will stay in effect until the city of Chicago "deems that the threat of COVID-19 to public health" has been reduced.

Democratic Mayors Michelle Wu of Boston and Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., have also announced a new round of restrictions for residents in their cities amid the onset of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

Wu announced that beginning Jan. 15, staff and customers would be required to present proof of vaccination in order to enter certain businesses in Boston. Bowser reimplemented a mask mandate for D.C. and said she was considering implementing a vaccine requirement to enter certain businesses.


Chicago's daily average of new COVID-19 cases jumped by double, more than 2,000, in the past week, according to the city's coronavirus dashboard website. Roughly 70% of the people who are eligible in the city have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 64% have completed the series.

Data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday shows that the omicron variant has overtaken the delta variant as the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

The data show omicron made up 73.2% of COVID-19 cases last week, a rise of 13% from the prior week.