Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins doesn’t see a path for how the state’s new vaccine passports can be effective.


Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a mandate stating that Chicago businesses including restaurants, bars, gyms, and movie theaters will be required to check proof of patrons’ vaccination beginning on Jan. 3, CBS Chicago reported. Patrons who are 16 and older will also be required to provide an ID.

“We're watching what's going on around the state, and I think it’s a very misguided effort that’s not following the science,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “The fact that you had a vaccination and even a booster doesn’t mean that you can’t catch or transmit COVID. We’re finding out that the real purpose of the vaccination is to prevent serious illness. But only allowing vaccinated people in a facility doesn’t mean you’re going to stop the spread. The answer is when someone is sick we need to be able to quarantine them. Ignoring the science is simply wrong.”

While with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established that anyone, regardless of vaccination status, can likely spread the omicron variant of the coronavirus to other people, and the variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, Caulkins said he can see why all the questions persist.

He added Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot now turning to the same vaccine passport system used in New York City will add to the madness.  

“I suspect it’s a lack of openness to the science and following some strange ideology,” he said of Lightfoot’s motivations. “We've seen this in Illinois now for two years with Gov. Pritzker. He claims to follow the science and yet we get all the contradictions. Someone has an ideology, and I think it’s making people less safe.”

No matter what, Caulkins said he plans to continue supporting businesses that choose not to enforce the mandate.

“Absolutely, I will,” he said. “Most of them are just small business owners trying to survive.”

Caulkins said he worries what the mandate could come to mean for the state as a whole.

“We've been talking about this for almost two years, and for the government to try to mandate the way people live their lives has a detrimental effect on the views people have of the state,” he said. “With all the problems we already have here, after this I would not be surprised to see even more people walking away. I will say these mandates will cause more businesses to go out of business and more people to leave Illinois.”

Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski recently told WXAN radio host Will Stephens that he sees a direct correlation between all the mandates and the state’s record population loses of 2021. Dabrowski added the measure of population loss is meaningful because it captures all of the factors affecting the quality of life in Illinois: taxes, pandemic mandates, crime rates, finances and family values.

“What we see in Illinois is a sad continuation of people fleeing the state. It’s a scary measure that people, in the end, can’t find their opportunities here,” he said. “Politicians will talk about the problems we have in Illinois, but they don’t blame the right things and they certainly don’t call for action to fix the right things. That’s why we perpetuate the losses.”

Since the pandemic hit, the Chicago Tribune recently placed the number of businesses that have been forced to close at 4,400, including 2,400 that say they won’t reopen. With all the data coming from crowd-sourced business review platform Yelp, researchers added across the country more than 132,500 businesses have permanently or temporarily closed since March, with Chicago being home to the fourth-highest number of closures, behind only  Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.