Oregon is requiring businesses, workplaces, and houses of worship to verify the vaccination status of individuals via a “vaccine passport” before they are allowed to enter buildings without a mask.
Oregon is the first state to implement the statewide mask mandate for businesses and critics are claiming that verifying everyone’s vaccination status is just too difficult to carry out. The announcement was made by State Epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger during a news conference Friday. “It will require people who choose to not wear their mask in the business, and not to keep their distance, that they will have to disclose their vaccine status and show that to the business,” he declared.
Sidelinger claims that requiring people to disclose their vaccination status does not violate health privacy laws because people can leave their masks on. “We need to know they’re vaccinated so that business knows their employees and their other customers are protected,” he proclaimed.
Following new guidelines from the CDC, many states have lifted their mask mandates without requiring confirmation of vaccination. A number of states such as Texas and Florida have banned local governments from enforcing mask mandates. Gov. DeSantis of Florida issued an executive order that prohibits businesses from requiring vaccine passports. It appears that Oregon is going in the opposite direction.
(Video Credit: KPTV FOX 12 Oregon)
Business groups in Oregon are very concerned: “We have serious concerns about the practicality of requiring business owners and workers to be the enforcer,” stated Nathaniel Brown, a spokesman for Oregon Business and Industry. They represent large companies such as Nike, as well as small businesses. “We are hearing from retailers and small businesses who are concerned about putting their frontline workers in a potentially untenable position when dealing with customers.”
“Vaccine passports are completely contrary to Oregonians’ sense of privacy,” said Senate Minority Leader Fred Girod. “This kind of dictatorial control over the everyday lives of Oregonians must stop.”
“The governor needs to immediately rescind this order and fully reopen the state,” stated Jason Dudash, director of the Freedom Foundation of Oregon. “The Freedom Foundation was the first to sue Gov. Brown over her mask mandates last year and we’re prepared to fight her in court over this ludicrous vaccine passport, as well.”
The Oregon Health Authority declared on Tuesday that the new guidelines were effective immediately. Businesses are now required to enforce mask requirements for those who cannot prove they have been vaccinated with a card or photo of one that verifies they have been inoculated. If the business can’t or won’t, then everyone that enters the building must wear a mask.
Gov. Kate Brown announced last week that residents who were fully vaccinated no longer had to wear masks in most public settings. They will still have to wear them in healthcare settings, schools, and public transit. She also noted that businesses would have “the option” to forego mask requirements only if they instituted verification: “Some businesses may prefer to simply continue operating under the current guidance for now rather than worrying about vaccination status, and that’s fine.”
Charles Boyle, who is a spokesman for Governor Brown, commented that “businesses that do not want to implement vaccine verification can keep current health and safety measures in place, which includes masks and physical distancing for all individuals.”
When asked if businesses would be penalized for allowing customers to go maskless without verification of their status, Boyle replied that “in the past year state agencies have issued fines for businesses that are out of compliance with health and safety guidance.”
Commenters on Twitter were outraged over Oregon’s mandate:
If I owned a biz in Oregon, I would kindly tell the state to F off. The Starbucks employees do not need to see my personal health information.
— majestic marauder (@majMarauder) May 20, 2021
I picture that scene from Schindler’s List where the nazi is yelling at Ben Kingsley for his papers.
— Rich M. (@SouthSideRich64) May 20, 2021
— Klaatu Carpenter (@KlaatuC) May 20, 2021
The sane counties in Oregon need to defect to Idaho.
— Bones (@ChimperScott) May 20, 2021
I can’t believe this is what America is turning into. People can’t have the freedom to refuse a vaccination. It’s ridiculous
— Benjaman Hudak (@HudakBenjaman) May 20, 2021
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