Should retailers welcome vaccine passports?
From sports stadiums to cruise lines, airlines to universities, proof of vaccination is increasingly the ticket for special access or outright entry for the public. Should retailers and food establishments follow suit?
So-called “vaccine passports” are still evolving but typically take the form of a smartphone app that confirms someone’s vaccination status.
In Israel, which is leading the world in vaccination rates, a “green passport” gives holders access to places like restaurants, gyms, theaters, hotels, concerts and synagogues. In March, the New York State’s Excelsior passport program went live, allowing businesses to quickly scan digital passes to determine a person’s vaccination status. California and Hawaii are working on similar vaccine passport systems.
Advocates believe vaccine passports could incentivize more individuals to take the shot and speed the return to “normal” life. The more vaccination rates increase, the more consumers are expected to be comfortable dining out, traveling by air, heading to the movie theater and shopping without the get-in-get-out mindset.
A new Ipsos global survey for the World Economic Forum of over 21,000 adults taken between March 26 and April 9 found 66 percent agreed that vaccine passports will be widely used in their country by the end of the year. Among the respondents, 77 percent felt vaccine passports should be required of travelers entering their country; 67 percent agreed large public venues should require a vaccine passport and 55 percent agreed vaccine passports should be required in shops, restaurants and offices.
Requiring proof of vaccination would be a further step in keeping workers safe and reducing shopping apprehensions. Dining areas may be able to fully reopen and events that involve large gatherings may also become doable with a proof-of-vaccination mandate.
A growing number of states are passing laws banning vaccine passport restrictions, however, largely citing privacy concerns. Some critics see passports as discriminatory. Fraud is also predicted without official standards for privacy or for verifying the accuracy of the records.
The British government recently changed course in saying vaccination status would not be a requirement for entry to restaurants and pubs. Pub owners had fretted about the return of civil liberty confrontations caused by mask mandates.
- Covid-19 Vaccination Cards Are the Only Proof of Shots, Soon an Essential – The Wall Street Journal
- Likely Legal, ‘Vaccine Passports’ Emerge as the Next Coronavirus Divide – The New York Times
- Global public backs COVID-19 vaccine passports for international travel – Ipsos
- US split on vaccine passports as country aims for return to normalcy – The Guardian
- It Is, Once Again, Curtains for Boris Johnson’s Covid Passport Plan in Restaurants – Eater London
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Would the use of vaccine passports speed the return of customers to retail stores and restaurants? What do you see as the pros and cons for businesses in states where passports are used?