Report: Oregon Health Authority Tells Businesses to Check Customer Vaccination Status if Maskless

Close up shot of a coronavirus vaccine bottle and a syringe with a Turkeys passport as a vaccine passport Covid 19 Immune text written on the page.
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Oregon Health Authority announced new guidelines this week, stating businesses would be required to enforce a mask mandate unless the establishment can confirm the vaccination status of individuals before entering the building without a mask, despite the state lifting mask requirements, according to a report by the New York Times.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the new guidelines for masks at the White House last week, paving the way for states to start lifting mask mandates across the country. Oregon was one of the first to lift the mandate.

Oregon’s Democrat Gov. Kate Brown had said, “Oregonians who were fully vaccinated no longer needed to wear masks in most public settings, except in places like schools, public transit, and health care settings.”

According to the report, the health authority in Oregon, as of Tuesday, is “requiring businesses, workplaces, and houses of worship to verify the vaccination status of individuals before they enter buildings without a mask.”

“Businesses would be required to continue to enforce mask requirements unless they had established a policy to confirm proof of vaccination using a card or photo of one before individuals can enter the building without a mask,” according to the report.

Reportedly, a statewide mandate is “one of the first of its kind in the country” and has started to raise concerns “the procedure of verifying vaccinations could be too cumbersome for workers.”

Some Republican governors, like Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of Florida, signed an executive order that prohibits Florida Businesses “from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business.”

The report states that the honor system some states and businesses are using has raised its own questions. In Oregon, some business groups have shown “concerns that a mandate to check vaccination status could become — like mask enforcement — a difficult and potentially dangerous proposition for workers.”

Another Democrat-run state, New York, is using a digital proof of coronavirus vaccination they created called the Excelsior Pass. Reportedly, the pass will “be used at some sites like Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall.”

The Times noted, President Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, has said, “the federal government would not be issuing ‘vaccine passports,’ the development of which she said should be left up to the private sector.”

According to the Times, a spokesman for Oregon Business and Industry, Nathaniel Brown, said, “We have serious concerns about the practicality of requiring business owners and workers to be the enforcer.”

He added that “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.”

Charles Boyle, a spokesman for Oregon’s Governor, said, “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 Boyle was asked “if businesses would face penalties for allowing customers to go maskless without checking their vaccination status,” he referred to the previous guidelines saying, “in the past year state agencies have issued fines for businesses that are out of compliance with health and safety guidance.”

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