Protesters assembled Sunday, January 24, 2022 at Port Clinton Square around 620 Central Avenue in Highland Park to rally against COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Over four months have passed since President Joe Biden announced vaccine mandates on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
Organizers of the rally in Highland Park state that the vaccine mandates are hurting the local economy and ruining business by preventing the unvaccinated from spending money at restaurants, entertainment venues, and gyms, etc. Nationwide, these type of service businesses have been hardest hit by vaccine mandates.
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Opponents to mandatory vaccines also state that the mandates infringe on medical freedom and privacy. Opponents also point to the fact that vaccinated individuals are also capable of transmitting the virus to others, and that vaccinated people are getting sick even though they are vaccinated. Supporters of COVID-19 vaccines point out studies that they claim show that the unvaccinated are more likely to die if they become sick with COVID-19.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 60035 zip code in Highland Park, has one of the highest vaccination rates in Illinois. More than 94% of 60035 residents have received at least one dose, and over 82% are classified as fully vaccinated.
The Highland Park City Council passed an order on December 29, 2021 that went into effect on January 7, 2022, and is holding a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday to discuss whether to extend the vaccine mandate. The order requires that business, such as indoor dining areas, movie theaters, live performance venues, sports arenals, arcades, bowling alleys and gyms, check proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all patrons ages 5 and up. The Highland Park City Council on December 29, 2022, voted 6-1 in favor of the vaccine mandate, which is similar to orders in Cook County, the City of Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, and Washington D.C.
The Highland Park protest was held on the same day as a large scale vaccine mandate protest “Defeat the Mandates” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. According to one of the organizers, Will Witt of PragerU, 50,000 people assembled at the Lincoln Memorial. Critics decried that physicians have lost their jobs and free speech has been hindered over the vaccine mandate controversy. Critics have also denounced that vaccine mandates promote segregation.
NBC News called the Washington D.C. event a ‘who’s who’ of anti-vaccine activists. The event included Dr. Robert Malone, who was censored by Twitter in late December 2021 for reportedly violating Twitter’s COVID-19 misinformation policy after he participated in an interview with Joe Rogan. Malone claims Twitter refused to specify which tweet triggered the violation. Dr. Malone is an American virologist and immunologist that has focused on mRNA technology. Critics of Malone claim he has promoted misinformation about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
Rogan and Malone have since made the transition to an alternative social media app GETTR. On January 3, 2022, Congressman Troy E. Nehls (R-TX-22) entered the transcript of the Joe Rogan Experience #1757 – Interview with Dr. Robert Malone, MD into the Congressional Record after Twitter and YouTube removed the interview from their platforms. Congressman Nehls described Dr. Malone as a widely published mRNA vaccine expert who went on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast to raise concerns over the COVID-19 vaccine. Nehls said Twitter’s move to de-platform Dr. Malone and remove the interview from their site is the latest in a string of censuring individuals who dissent against the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine mandates.
“By de-platforming Dr. Robert Malone for voicing opposition and removing the interview, Twitter and YouTube are once again proving that they don’t work for their users but for big Pharma, big media, and the elites. When we stray away from our core principles of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of debate, democracy is lost. Today, I entered the transcript of the Joe Rogan Experience #1757 into the Congressional Record to preserve the podcast forever. Big Tech may be able to censor information on their own platforms, but they cannot censor the Congressional Record.”
“The event adds momentum to activists who continue to find ways to spread false and misleading claims about the Covid vaccines, now often focusing on mandates as an entry point.”
On September 24, 2021, Gallup News reported a COVID-19 tracking survey conducted September 13-19, 2021 that 60 percent of Americans supported (40% opposed) requiring all federal government employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The days of the survey immediately followed President Joe Biden’s speech announcing vaccine mandates on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you — the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love.
Also, 63 percent of U.S. adults were in favor of vaccination requirements for teachers and staff in K-12 schools, something the New York and Los Angeles school districts, among others, have adopted.
Also, 58 percent supported (42% opposed) requiring companies with 100 or more employees to have all their employees vaccinated against COVID-19, or be tested weekly for it.
Also, 63 percent supported (37% opposed) requiring hospitals and other healthcare facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement money to have all their employees vaccinated against COVID-19.
Also, 68 percent supported (32% opposed) requiring companies with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated or to recover from vaccine side effects.
According to 2NewsNow (Southwest Texas ABC/NBC affliliate), more than 20,000 people attended the ‘Defeat the Mandates’ event on Sunday, January 24, 202. Hundreds of the attendees were first responders were firefighters. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Protestors marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on Sunday in objection to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates, drawing an array of sometimes controversial speakers and groups, according to Forbes. The audio in the video is truncate, and may have been truncated out of concerns that the message may have violated community policies on YouTube. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Will Witt, who organized the protest, says it was ‘absolutely incredible’ to see 50,000 people from across the country stand up for personal freedoms. YouTube Tips ⓘ
^^ MOBILE? USE VOICE MIC ^^
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City of Highland Park
December 29, 2021: Mayor Rotering issued an Emergency Declaration to continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, in consideration of ongoing health and economic impacts. In addition, in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the City of Highland Park (“City”) and the Chicago metropolitan area, the City of Highland Park has issued an emergency order requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for patrons of on-premises dining establishments. Beginning Friday, January 7, 2022, all individuals ages 5 and older will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access all on-premises food and drink establishments in the City, including:
indoor dining at restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and bars, including fast-food and fast-casual establishments;
indoor entertainment venues where food and drinks are served, such as movie theatres.
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City of Highland Park Requires Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Patrons of On-Premises Dining Establishments
New measures take effect Friday, January 7, 2022
December 29, 2021 – In response to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the City of Highland Park (“City”) and the Chicago metropolitan area, the City of Highland Park has issued an emergency order requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for patrons of on-premises dining establishments. Beginning Friday, January 7, 2022, all individuals ages 5 and older will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access all on-premises food and drink establishments in the City, including:
indoor dining at restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and bars,
including fast-food and fast-casual establishments;
indoor entertainment venues where food and drinks are served, such as movie theatres.
The City Council approved the vaccination requirement pursuant to the City’s new Emergency Declaration at a special meeting on Wednesday, December 29, 2021. City Council also extended the Emergency Declaration to the close of the January 24, 2022 City Council meeting. The measure complements similar policies enacted in Cook County, which borders Highland Park, and the City of Chicago.
“Over the past six weeks, we have seen a precipitous rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our community and throughout our region,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “We are taking these temporary steps to mitigate the impact on our increasingly burdened health care system, and to help protect the lives, health and safety of our community.”
Businesses covered by this policy will be required to confirm that all customers comply with this requirement. Customers will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before entering a business covered by this policy, and individuals age 16 and older must show proof of identification as well. The following documents may be furnished to demonstrate full vaccination:
CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (original or photo);
Immunization Record provided by the State or country where the individual was vaccinated, such as the Illinois Department of Public Health’s VaxVerify printout (original or photo);
Immunization Record provided by the individual’s medical provider.
Employees of on-premises food and drink establishments must either provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to their employer, or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test at least once every seven calendar days.
For the purposes of this emergency order, the definition of “fully vaccinated” is aligned with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, individuals ages 5 and older are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose in an approved two-dose vaccine series (Pfizer/Moderna), or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Approved vaccines include those authorized or approved by either the United States Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.
The vaccination requirement applies to indoor establishments as well as restaurants with a roof or overhang enclosed on at least three sides or temporary outdoor structures for dining, such as tents, with less than 50% of the sides open or without adequate ventilation to allow for four to six air exchanges per hour.
The vaccination requirement does not apply to houses of worship, K-12 schools, preschools, and child care centers, indoor locations within a residential or office building, where the use of dining facilities is limited to residents, owners, or tenants of the building, and charitable food service establishments such as soup kitchens.
Individuals who have previously received a medical exemption are exempt from compliance with this requirement, provided they also provide proof upon entry of the medical exemption received and a negative COVID-19 test administered by a medical professional within the prior 24 hours.
Exemptions to this requirement also apply to the following individuals:
Individuals entering an establishment for less than 10 minutes for ordering and carrying out food, making a delivery, or using the restroom;
Individuals who are performing at the establishment and those accompanying them, who will only be in the establishment for the duration of the performance;
Children under the age of 18 entering a business to participate in a school-sponsored or after-school program offered by any pre-K through 12th grade school;
Individuals entering a business serving as a polling place for the purposes of voting in an election, assisting or accompanying a voter, or observing an election.
“Throughout the pandemic, the City has strived to proactively respond in the best interest of public health, while balancing the needs of our business community,” said City Manager Ghida Neukirch. “The City remains committed to partnering with business owners to provide support as they continue to weather the economic impacts and short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic.”
The City will work collaboratively with business owners to ensure that the vaccine requirement is appropriately applied. City staff will follow up on any reported concerns with individual business owners. Repeated violations may result in a citation.
Information about the new vaccine requirement for certain businesses is available at cityhpil.com/covid-19. Individuals with questions should contact the City Manager’s Office at [email protected] or 847.926.1000. Business owners may contact the Office of Business Development at 847.926.1027.