UPDATED 9:47 AM PT – Friday, December 31, 2021
In an effort to reaffirm her commitment to public safety Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot outlined the health precautions for the city’s New Year’s eve celebrations. During a Wednesday press conference, the mayor announced the city would be holding its largest firework show ever after suspending the spectacle last year.
The Democrat voiced her belief that COVID is the largest obstacle inhibiting a safe New Year for Chicagoans. Luckily, Lightfoot stated that she is holding the festivities where COVID is least effective: the great outdoors.
“Number one, let’s keep in mind it’s outdoors and there was a conscious decision made, not only obviously that it’s outdoors, but to spread it out so we don’t have massive crowds gathering in one place.” she stated. “So people have to be smart, recognize that the pandemic is still with us, that the Omicron variant is real and that they ought to do everything that they can to make sure that they protect yourself.”
Mayor Lightfoot decided to use her time at the podium to promote COVID vaccines and boosters, which have been proven to be much less effective against Omicron than previous strains.
“If you’re planning on ringing in the New Year with loved ones in an indoor setting, not only is it vital to be vaccinated and boosted, but also to know your own COVID 19 status,” she continued. “That’s why, as Dr. Arwady will explain in more detail shortly, we are recommending to everyone, even those who are vaccinated, to consider getting a COVID 19 test before gathering indoors with a large group.”
In an effort to drive home her message, Lighfoot brought the city’s public health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, on stage to highlight Chicago’s rising case rates.
“I have bad news when when we look at our COVID case rates in Chicago; our case rates are rising sharply,” said Arwady. “Just like nationally, just like across the state of Illinois, here in Chicago our COVID cases right now are higher than they have ever been.”
Although the Omicron variant has been shown to be far more transmissible than previous COVID strains, it retains a single digit death toll nationally. Meanwhile, Chicago has suffered more than 800 homicides and over 4,000 shootings in 2021 in addition to a surge in smash-and-grab robberies after Lightfoot proposed to cut $80 million from police funding the previous year
We didn’t want it to get to this point, but given the situation we find ourselves in, we have no choice.
Beginning Jan. 3, you must show proof you are fully vax’d to enter bars, restaurants, fitness centers, and entertainment/recreational venues where food/drink are served. 🧵 https://t.co/Zelw59mXQ1
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) December 21, 2021
The mayor let Chicagoans know she’s focusing on their safety by instituting a vaccine passport for various venues starting January 3.