Despite misgivings with vaccine rules, Rosemont officials are doing 'best we can' on enforcement

  • Signage about Cook County's proof-of-vaccination mandate is in place at the entrances to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, where Mayor Brad Stephens said Monday employees are doing "the best we can" on enforcement.

    Signage about Cook County's proof-of-vaccination mandate is in place at the entrances to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, where Mayor Brad Stephens said Monday employees are doing "the best we can" on enforcement. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

  • The Cook County Health Department's order requires people 5 and older to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and entertainment venues serving food, like Rosemont's Allstate Arena.

    The Cook County Health Department's order requires people 5 and older to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and entertainment venues serving food, like Rosemont's Allstate Arena. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/10/2022 6:40 PM

Rosemont officials said Monday they're doing "the best we can" to enforce Cook County's proof-of-vaccination mandate at municipal-owned venues such as the Allstate Arena and Rosemont Theatre.

But the village -- a Northwest suburban entertainment and dining destination -- generally is taking a hands-off approach to enforcement at the dozens of restaurants in town.

 

"We don't have the bodies to make sure everybody's checking everybody," said Mayor Brad Stephens, who expressed his displeasure with the rules that took effect Jan. 3. "We don't have bodies to enforce it."

The Cook County Health Department's order requires people 5 and older to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter restaurants, bars, movie theaters, concert and other entertainment venues serving food.

There are a number of such places in Rosemont, home to the village-owned Allstate Arena, Rosemont Theatre, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Parkway Bank Park entertainment district, and The Dome at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.

At the 19,000-seat arena, which hosted two Chicago Wolves games over the weekend, security guards with Monterrey Security are checking for vaccination cards, Stephens said, and county health department signs reading "vaccination & masks required" are posted at the doors.

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"We're complying the best we can, without crossing the line and whether a lot of people question if it's a HIPAA (health privacy law) violation," Stephens said.

At the convention center, which has a number of concession stands, compliance checks are in the hands of each show's management staff, he said.

The longtime local mayor, who doubles as the Republican state representative for the area, joined other suburban officials for a brief Zoom call with County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and health department colead Rachel Rubin just before the mandate took effect.

Stephens said he wished county officials had sought more input from the municipalities, though he acknowledged some small changes have been made. For example, vaccine proof isn't needed at the village-owned indoor sports dome, so long as the concession stands are closed.

"I don't think it was well-enough thought out," he said of the county order.

Village officials have sent information about the proof-of-vaccination rules to all businesses in town. Some restaurants are posting the signage at their front doors, and some are not, Stephens said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He said complaints about noncompliance should go to county officials.

For his part, Stephens over the weekend went to dinner at Gibson's Steakhouse, where he showed a picture of his vaccine card on his phone to the host.

"It's a mandate on business," he said.

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