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Vaccination segregation: Chicago restaurant separates customers by jab status, citing city’s Covid-19 rules

Vaccination segregation: Chicago restaurant separates customers by jab status, citing city’s Covid-19 rules
A social experiment is underway in Chicago, where a restaurant is segregating customers by Covid-19 vaccination status. City guidelines say this is perfectly fine, says the owner, who chairs the Illinois Restaurant Association.

Moe’s Cantina pioneered the practice this past weekend, according to Chicago’s WBBM-TV. The restaurant was divided into an unrestricted, vaccinated section and another, where partitions and socially distanced tables remain.

“We decided to divide, and you’re free to come on this side, go to the bar. You can be pre-pandemic,” said the owner, Sam Sanchez.

Patrons will need to show proof of full vaccination to be issued with a pink bracelet and allowed into the unrestricted area. 

Illinois – and Chicago in particular – have been under strict lockdown measures for over a year. Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced relaxation of the restrictions, allowing establishments to operate as normal “if only vaccinated patrons and employees are allowed” inside.

Businesses open late and those with dance floors are also required to verify vaccination status of customers in order to reopen without restrictions.

The segregation by vaccination status at Moe’s appears downright tolerant and magnanimous compared to some smaller bars, which have reportedly reached out to city officials about not allowing anyone unvaccinated inside, in order to be rid of the onerous restrictions.

Over at Wrigley Field, the outdoor baseball stadium, the Chicago Cubs have set aside a separate section of the bleachers for vaccinated fans. They are also offering free food and drinks to fans who get the shot at a convention center nearby, according to a Chicago Tribune story shared by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois).

This combination of “carrots” and “sticks” to get Chicagoans vaccinated is in line with the Biden administration policy of “vaxxed or masked,” rolled out earlier this month amid the partial relaxation of Covid-19 lockdowns.

Separate and unequal restaurant seating isn’t the only form of segregation Lightfoot has embraced. Last week, she triggered controversy by insisting she would only give one-on-one interviews with “black and brown journalists,” saying this was a way to demonstrate commitment to “diversity and inclusion."

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