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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Want To Go Dancing At The Gay Bar? Get Vaccinated, Club Owners Say. Hydrate, Berlin Will Check Vaccine Cards At The Door

Hydrate stopped checking cards for awhile, but began again this week. Berlin Nightclub also will require proof of vaccination when it reopens next week.

People line up outside Hydrate on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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NORTHALSTED — One of the largest nightclubs along the Northalsted strip in Lakeview has gone back to checking for proof people have been vaccinated against coronavirus to get inside.

Hydrate Nightclub, 3458 N. Halsted St., announced on Facebook people will have to provide a copy or picture of their vaccination card or online proof from their provider starting Friday. Staff will check for vaccination proof at the door when checking IDs.

“Let’s keep moving forward and do the right thing so we can continue to dance, laugh and watch some of the most amazing drag here in Chicago!” bar staff wrote in the post.

Berlin Nightclub, 954 W. Belmont Ave., also announced Thursday it will require proof of full vaccination when the nightclub reopens Aug. 5. Berlin has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

Hydrate’s announcement comes as Chicago’s positivity rate and average number of daily new coronavirus cases have spiked in recent weeks and surges are being recorded around the country.

The bar was one of the first Northalsted nightclubs to reopen its dance floor and start checking vaccination cards in May, when COVID-19 restrictions loosened. But bars in the neighborhood stopped checking for vaccine cards once the city fully reopened in mid-June.

Hydrate’s new safety measure follows a plea from Howard Brown Health, the city’s largest LGBTQ provider, for business leaders in the Northalsted neighborhood to implement strict COVID precautions for the upcoming Market Days street festival and Pride Parade.

Market Days is scheduled for Aug. 6-8 and the Pride Parade for Oct. 3.

“The pandemic is far from over, and Chicago businesses need to act now to prevent further spikes in severe COVID-19 disease that can lead to hospitalizations or death,” said Dr. Cathy Creticos, director of infectious diseases at Howard Brown.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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