Health officials from Oregon have introduced COVID-19 passports on Wednesday.
These passports are meant to allow Oregon citizens to go inside various indoor places without protective masks.
Some of the locations covered by the new passport rule include houses of worship, workplace, and other businesses that operate indoors.
The passport measure came in the wake of recent guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A license for going indoors
These guidelines stressed that fully vaccinated Americans could safely visit both indoor and outdoor locations without face-covering masks.
At the same, Oregon Healthy Authority (OHA), supported by Democratic Governor Kate Brown, allowed Oregonians to go outside without masks, regardless of their vaccination status.
On the other hand, people spending time in facilities such as hospitals, jails, homeless shelters, and K-12 schools are required to wear masks irrespective of whether they received the jabs or not.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the head of OHA, expressed his hope that the newly instituted system would work and that Oregonians would not resort to forging the passports.
He emphasized that the OHA expects indoor businesses such as restaurants to find methods by which individuals would be able to show their vaccination status.
Oregon Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) spokesman Aaron Corvin told reporters that his agency would investigate any complaints about the new policy not being obeyed.
The backlash surrounding the policy
The OHA’s introduction of COVID-19 passports received a lot of critical reactions.
One of them came from feminist activist Dr. Naomi Wolf who described the day COVID-19 passports were launched as a ‘said day in history.’
She characterized the policy as discriminatory.
Oregon Senate Republican Leader Fred Girold is another person who criticized the COVID-19 passport policy.
In an interview with The Washington Examiner, he said that the U.S. ‘used to be a free country.’
Girold underscored that the vaccine passport measures significantly violate the sense of privacy present in Oregon.
The Republican from Oregon also called for an end of ‘dictatorial control over Oregonians’ everyday lives.’
It remains to be seen whether other states would follow Oregon’s example and institute similar rules.
It could be expected that at least some of the Democratic-led state governments would follow suit. It is also possible that if the Oregonian policy faces serious resistance or fails to deliver intended results, other state governments will abandon their plans to introduce the COVID-19 passports.