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Chicago’s East Bank Club to Require Proof of Vaccination

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East Bank Club joins the growing number of businesses requiring proof of vaccination across the U.S.

East Bank Club in Chicago announced it will require all staff and members to be vaccinated against COVID-19, starting on October 1, 2021.

The decision came about after the club’s leadership team consulted with members via survey and found the vast majority are vaccinated and support the decision.

East Bank Club also consulted with the Chicago Medical Society (CMS), which has advised the club on reopening and safety protocols throughout the course of the pandemic. CMS represents more than 17,000 physicians and licensed healthcare professionals across Chicago’s Cook County. 

In light of the delta variant of COVID-19 — which is more than two times as contagious as previous variants — the East Bank Club’s leadership team feels requiring proof of vaccination is the best way to ensure a safe club environment. 

“This variant is different than the last time, and we have to treat it differently,” said Mel Kleist, the CEO of East Bank Club. “Vaccines are, without question, preventing people from severe illness. Being an all-vaccinated facility provides a layer of safety that none of our members are going to be put at-risk of being medically cared for. And as a health care and health and wellness provider, it seems like there’s really just no other answer.”

East Bank Club joins a growing number of businesses requiring proof of vaccination in cities across the U.S.

On July 31, Equinox and SoulCycle announced they would be adopting a proof of vaccination policy starting in New York City, with plans to implement similar policies in additional markets. Starting on Monday, August 16, New York City is requiring proof of vaccination for access to indoor venues including health clubs and restaurants.

The City of New Orleans also announced on August 17 that proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test will be required to access gyms and other indoor settings, in a statement from Major LaToya Cantrell.

Kleist said requiring proof of vaccination is something many gym operators are thinking about. “I think it comes down to the membership you serve, and it’s different in every area,” he said. “You have to determine, probably through surveys, what your members are gravitating to as far as the decision your club makes.”

Ultimately, the decision for East Bank Club made the most sense based on guidance from health experts.

“We have a medical advisory group, many state alliances have medical advisory groups, and I think we should rely on their sound judgment,” said Kleist. “We want to keep our people healthy, and primarily, I think the best way to do that — if you can succeed in the process — is to be a vaccinated facility. I think the best way for us to move forward is to encourage people to take the necessary steps to be safe from being in a hospital.”

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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