They’re here! The COVID-19 “vaccine passports” that have been discussed so much are becoming a reality in Oregon.
The state has mandated that all businesses, employers and churches must continue to enforce a mask requirement unless they have a policy for “checking for proof of vaccination status of individuals,” and request and review “each individual’s proof of vaccination.”
The state’s previously imposed masking and distancing requirements must be enforced on anyone who “has declined to provide such proof,” the state has instructed.
The state also said masks still are required — even for who are fully vaccinated with proof of vaccination status — in health care settings, jails, youth detention centers, shelters, transitional houses, K-12 schools, planes, buses, trains and transportation hubs.
Oregon Live reported the state will let people go without masks outdoors but will require them “to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – and be able to prove it” to go without masks indoors.
The report said the new guidance comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that fully vaccinated people generally do not need to wear masks or maintain physical distance in most public settings.
Masks had been required in most circumstances across Oregon since July 1.
Dean Sidelinger, Oregon’s epidemiologist, said he didn’t know of other states in which vaccine passport requirements already had been adopted.
He said that to forgo masks in public indoor settings, vaccinated individuals must show proof, which would be a photocopy or photo of their vaccine cards.
“We hope that Oregonians will not lie or cheat and put others at risk by forging a vaccine record if they aren’t vaccinated,” Sidelinger said.
If businesses don’t check vaccination documents, they must continue to impose mask and distancing rules, the state said.
“They can continue to serve their customers and have their employees wear masks in these settings,” Sidelinger said. “For a business that wants to serve their customers in a different way by allowing them to remove their masks if they’re fully vaccinated, or have their staff be able to remove their mask if they’re fully vaccinated, they need to institute a system where individuals can share their vaccination status.”
There was negative reaction to the new policy.
“Once again, the OHA has put essential employees in the position of enforcers of public policy without giving them the tools to protect themselves or the public,” Miles Eshaia, a spokesman for UFCW Local 555, which represents grocery store workers at Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons, told Oregon Live.
“Telling essential employees to be the mask police and asking customers for their medical information puts them in harm’s way and is insulting after months of ignoring the needs and safety of the people who put food on our tables.”
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