States, Businesses Grapple Over Requiring Proof Of Vaccination

California, New York and Louisiana are creating data bases for people wanting to prove they're vaccinated.
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 26, 2021

Restaurants, stores and other businesses across the country are allowing vaccinated customers into their establishments without masks  Some require customers to show proof of vaccine shots. Most are just relying on the honor system.

"The science is clear. If you're vaccinated, you're safe," said President Joe Biden.

Some big Wall Street investment banks, like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, are summoning employees back to the office -- while also demanding proof of vaccination.

Meanwhile, three states - California, New York and Louisiana - are allowing state residents to access digital records of their vaccine shots. On July 8, another state - Hawaii - will end its COVID-19 testing requirement for travelers from the U.S. mainland if they upload proof of vaccination.

In New York, restaurants are getting a spike in business from people who now feel safe to go out.

"Yeah, it just gives like an added sense of comfort, so when you're coming into a restaurant, perhaps to grab some food, a glass of wine, you know, everyone else around you is also vaccinated," said Abby Shechtman and Phil Dawkins, visiting City Winery in New York.

At least 18 Republican-led state legislatures are prohibiting the requirement or enforcement of so-called vaccine passports.

But in December, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission determined it is legal for employers and states to require people get vaccinated. That's based on a legal precedent from 1905 for the smallpox shot. 

The Biden administration is strongly encouraging vaccination for COVID-19 - but isn't making it a national requirement.

Still people are fighting back against vaccination demands. Eight students from Indiana University are suing the school over its required shots.

"They're being stripped of their constitutional rights to make medical treatment decisions for themselves," said the students' attorney James Bopp Jr.

But technology like New York's Excelsior Pass, which provides digital proof of vaccination, may soon become the norm. Major companies and retailers, including Apple and Walmart, are planning to create new systems around the concept.