St. Charles aldermen oppose requiring customers to show proof of vaccination
St. Charles aldermen on Monday made it clear they do not support requiring people to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter restaurants and other businesses in the city.
The issue was discussed during the city council's government operations committee meeting. While not formally voting on the matter, aldermen unanimously opposed the mitigation measure.
In the face of hospitals becoming overwhelmed with new COVID-19 patients, Chicago and suburban Cook County on Monday started requiring proof of vaccination for those entering restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, concert venues, arcades, sports arenas and anywhere food and drink are served.
Before the discussion, those against vaccine passports and other mitigation measures made their views known as part of a rally in front of the St. Charles Municipal Building.
St. Charles City Administrator Heather McGuire told aldermen that her office on Monday received more than 200 messages in opposition to such a measure, with only two in support of the idea.
"This item was brought forward to the mayor after she was approached by a few elected officials who believed it was important to publicly discuss the position on the matter and make it clear where the city of St. Charles stood on this issue," McGuire said.
During the meeting, St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek said she is "adamantly against" requiring people to show proof of vaccination to visit businesses in St. Charles.
"The topic was put on tonight's agenda to officially document our position in the public record and remove any doubt about where we stand, especially in light of recent decisions by other government agencies," she said.
Aldermen agreed with her stance.
"St. Charles is not about this," 5th Ward Alderman Steve Weber said, in referring to the measure. "We have our own mind. We're not Chicago. We're not Cook County. We like to be different. I'm so glad and honored to live in a city where people quickly voiced their opinion. They reached out and let us know. I had multiple emails and phone calls today. I talked to a lot of constituents."
Fifth Ward Alderman Ed Bessner called vaccine passports "government overreach." And while the aldermen are against the idea of vaccine passports, 3rd Ward Alderman Todd Bancroft said that doesn't mean they are against vaccines.
"The idea that we are not going to require a mandate is not an indictment of the vaccine by this governing body," Bancroft said.
Third Ward Alderman Paul Lencioni, who is the president and CEO of Blue Goose Market in St. Charles, shared the views of the other aldermen. He said the city shouldn't interfere in people's "opportunity to choose for themselves."
St. Charles resident Mitch Bridges asked aldermen what they would do if Kane County decides to mandate vaccine passports.
"I don't think we need to discuss it until we know what Kane County does," said 1st Ward Alderman Ron Silkaitis, chairman of the government operations committee. "There's been no talk of it yet that I'm aware of."