Will ‘COVID passports’ be required in Utah?

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Could you be required to show a “COVID passport,” essentially, proof you’ve been vaccinated — to see movies, go to concerts, attend a sporting event or eat at your favorite restaurant?

It’s already happening in New York, as companies develop technology aimed at helping businesses safely encourage patrons to attend events or even travel.

Some cruise lines have already announced they will require proof of vaccination, and New York’s Madison Square Garden requires proof you are COVID-free to go inside.

The idea is that a secure app would give you a QR code on your phone, or on a paper you print out, that would be scanned up on entry.

“If I can prove to other people that I’m being safe, and that’s one way that I can do it, then I’m okay with that,” said Matt Jacobson, as he waited outside a vaccine location Friday for his girlfriend to get her shot.

“But I do understand the legitimate concern that people have about what is happening with that information,” added Jacobson.

The passports are being touted as voluntary, and safe — and they could become a part of daily life. But it’s still early, and Florida’s governor has announced plans to ban businesses in that state from demanding a passport as a condition of entry or business.

“A venue might want to encourage people to come by saying we’re ‘vaccine required’ so you can be safe if you come here,” said Leslie Francis, a distinguished professor at University of Utah.

“And so a restaurant might think it’s a selling point if they think that most of their audience is likely to have been vaccinated. And is likely to want to go to a place that’s vaccine only,” added Francis.

Still, she says, the idea of technology hosting medical data is concerning — so too is the possibility of inequity around vaccine access.

“Just saying, show us your card that you got when you went and got your vaccine, that might be something that would violate the ADA, and that’s the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Francis.

“That’s something that’s going to have to be thought about. My own view is, it’s really important to get people vaccinated, to encourage people to get vaccinated, to make sure that folks who are disadvantaged in getting access to vaccines can get it,” added Francis.

According to The Washington Post, there are 17 initiatives currently. At a national level, there is no federal vaccine database, nor will there be a mandate to use a vaccine passport.

A spokesperson for Gov. Cox said he was traveling and that ABC4’s request for comment would be addressed next week, and Lagoon didn’t respond to an email or voicemail regarding the possibility of mandating vaccine proof.

The Utah Jazz sent ABC4 this statement:

“In coordination with the NBA and local officials, Vivint Arena has kept the same protocols in place since December including mandatory masks, health screenings at entry, and socially distanced seating arrangements. The Jazz has made incremental increases in attendance throughout the NBA season, starting with about 1,900 fans and currently hosting a capacity of about 5,500 fans throughout the lower and upper bowls and suite level.”

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