Now that I'm getting close to being fully vaccinated, one of my friends asked me if I'll be eating in restaurants. I doubt it-- at least not until vaccine passports are being used. So definately no eating in restaurants in Florida, where America's most COVID-friendly governor, Ron DeSantis, has banned them. DeSantis' executive order, reported CNN "prohibits any government entity from issuing vaccine passports and blocks businesses from requiring any such documentation... 'It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.'" That's an odd argument to make in a state like Florida, where students aren't allowed to go school without proving they've been vaccinated.
Republicans, like DeSantis, are politicizing the whole idea of passports, although there are already some airlines that insist on proof of a negative test before you can board one of their planes. The passport idea is so business-friendly that I see the Republicans making a problem for themselves with their core constituency. Rightnow there are 8 airlines using the Common Pass, a digital certificate that lives on your smartphone, having been created by the Commons Project. Paul Meyer, the CEO, explained that "What we've been working on is to really develop a new standard. It's an open standard, but it's basically a way of digitizing health information, both vaccination records and test results." He's part of the Vaccination Credential Initiative, a group of companies and health care group working on guidelines for a digital health pass. He told ABC News that "In the last week the Miami Heat announced that they were ramping up sections to fans who can prove that they've been vaccinated. We're seeing employers, concert venues, festivals..."
As long as vaccinations are free and universally available, I am very interested in seeing how the "passports" will work. The ACLU has some legitimate privacy concerns and I'm sure the companies coming up with the technology are addressing those concerns.
Republican/QAnon politicians see the passports not as a way to return to normalcy but as a way to stoke voters' fears of Big Government doing something bad to them somehow. The White House wants to see passports in use but not as a centralized governmental function, basically because they know there are too many paranoid assholes in the country. Republicans are playing on the fears of those paranoid assholes already. One psychopath, QAnon Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) scrawled a "bill" on a napkin with a crayon, the "We Will Not Comply Act." Here's what her staff came up with after he original twitter rant about the mark of the beast.
One of the organizations pushing hardest in favor of a vaccine passport is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. So I certainly hope Pelosi allows Greene's proposal to be voted on-- and that Tommy Tuberville or some other GOP moron introduces it in the Senate. About 75% of Americans say they have either already been vaccinated or are willing to be vaccinated. I sure don't want to having anyone from the other 25% sitting in any restaurant I'm eating in!
Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that "Britain is planning to test a series of measures including “coronavirus status certifications” over the coming weeks to see if they can allow people to safely return to mass gatherings at sports arenas, nightclubs and concerts. People attending a range of events this month and in May, including a club night and key FA Cup soccer matches, will need to be tested both before and after. The trials will also gather evidence on how ventilation and different approaches to social distancing could enable large events to go ahead. Officials are also developing plans to test out COVID-19 passports that are expected to show if a person has received a vaccine, has recently tested negative for the virus, or has some immunity due to having had coronavirus in the previous six months."