December 31, 2021
Dear Residents, Families & Patrons,
On Thursday December, 23, Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) issued Mitigation Order 2021-11 mandating proof of vaccination requirements for certain businesses and facilities, including health, fitness & recreation centers. Continuing indoor masking is also required. This order is in effect starting Monday, January 3, 2022.
The Park District of Franklin Park and other Cook County Park Districts are seeking further clarification from Cook County Officials, specifically for the vaccination status highlighted below. Late yesterday the Chicago Park District announced it has been exempted from some of the requirements including the following exemptions:
- Youth 18 or under participating in Park programs or in any activity that is organized, sponsored or supervised by the Park District, Park District staff or managers designated by the Park District (this includes youth using Park facilities independently)
- Youth or adults participating in special recreation programs
- Spectators of indoor sporting events provided that no food or drink is being served and that they remain
Clearly these exemptions present questions for all other Cook County Park Districts for the consistent administration of the Mitigation Order.
CCDPH defines health and fitness centers as “all indoor settings for recreation and exercise.” and All Park District of Franklin Park facilities fall within this definition:
- Park District Community Center: Gymnasium/Fitness Center
- North Park: Banquet Hall/Sports Arena
- Franklin Park Ice Arena
Please note the following requirements for facility usage and program participation:
- Masks are required indoors for any person age two or older that can medically tolerate it (regardless of vaccination status).
- Physical distancing of six feet or more is required when feasible.
Proof of Vaccination and ID
- Any individual 5 years of age and older is required to show proof of vaccination to enter a facility (UNDER REVIEW).
Acceptable forms of vaccination proof are:
- a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card
- an official immunization record from the jurisdiction where each vaccination shot was administered
- an “app” that provides a digital record of vaccination
- a digital or physical photo that includes the individual’s name, the vaccine brand administered, and the date(s) of vaccine administration.
- Any individual 16 years of age or older is required to show an identification card (such as a driver’s license, school ID, government ID, or passport) with information corresponding to their proof of vaccination prior to entering a facility.
- An exemption is granted for those who are medically unable to receive vaccination if they (1) show proof of the exemption from a medical provider, and (2) show proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of coming into any facility.
Patrons hosting Events at our facilities are required to certify that participants have shown proof of vaccination. An Event addendum will be provided.
The original mitigation requirements from the Cook County Department of Public Health do not include any input from the Park District of Franklin Park Board and Staff, most notably our concerns for the physical and mental health of our children and young adults that we know have been severely impacted by past COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns since the beginning. We are in full support of vaccination options. However, we do not believe the Park District has the sole right to force your families to make the same vaccination decisions we have made, for you and your children.
Please understand the position of the Park District of Franklin Park during this mitigation period. We sincerely appreciate your cooperation, understanding and patience, and look forward to providing safe and healthy programs and services for you and your families.
As information evolves, we will share updates. Happy New Year!
Joseph D. Modrich
Director of Parks & Recreation