This happened even sooner than most people expected. We were warned at the beginning of the month that New York State was working to implement a system of immunity passports for people who wish to reenter most “normal” aspects of society. The state had clearly made up its mind already and had people working on the project because the “Excelsior Pass” is already in production and will be required for many social activities starting on April 2nd. Large venues in New York City are already using it, but most other “arts, entertainment and event venues” will require the pass shortly thereafter. People who have either been vaccinated or have received a negative COVID test in the previous few days will be able to obtain the pass, which can either be printed out on paper or displayed via an app on your phone. (New York Post)
The nation’s very first “vaccine passport” is coming to the Big Apple.
The program, dubbed the “Excelsior Pass,” is an app that will allow New Yorkers to prove their vaccination status, or recent history of a negative COVID-19 test, in order to gain entry to events and businesses, Governor Cuomo announced in a news release Friday.
“Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app,” the news release explains.
If you choose to install the app on your phone, it will display a key-code that will be recognized by a scanner at the entrance to the event you wish to attend or the business you want to enter for shopping or other purposes. Assuming you have a valid code, a green checkmark will be displayed in response. If the system doesn’t find you to be in compliance, a red “X” will be displayed and you will be denied entrance.
The first thing to point out here is that New York State has thus far vaccinated roughly half of its eligible citizens. That means that the other half of the state will now be shut out of nearly all nonessential activities unless they can find someplace to be tested and “verified” every few days. And if you think this only applies to things like basketball games, guess again. The state has specifically listed wedding receptions as events that will require a scanner at the door and an immunity passport to gain entrance. As of this morning, CNN is saying that 14.7 percent of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated at this point, so the disparity is vastly greater if a plan like this shows up at the national level.
While it won’t be part of the initial rollout, large retail chains and even grocery stores are reportedly studying how this system could be put into effect at their establishments. You can’t be barred from shopping for food and other essentials entirely, but some stores are considering setting up separate entrances for those with and without the passport or having some shopping hours restricted for only those who pass muster.
I’ve gone through the Post’s “explainer” of how the system operates and I don’t see any exceptions listed for people with comorbidities or other underlying conditions that could lead their doctors to recommend that they avoid the vaccine. So if you either choose not to be vaccinated or are medically disqualified from receiving it, at least in New York, you will officially be a second-class citizen on April 2nd. Without the pass, you will be part of a new class of pariahs who are barred from mingling with the new, upper class of people with immunity, or those who purchase a few days of “normalcy” by showing a negative COVID test result.
So when does this end? Based on the information being offered by the state, it doesn’t. There is no mention of a sunset provision in these rules. The government may seriously be considering making this “the new normal.” And it’s not going to be restricted to just New York State. You can bet that almost all of the blue states (at a minimum) are going to copy this system in short order. Are we really going to put up with this? We are constantly scolded about any activities that carry a hint of what someone considers racism, sexism, or any other “ism” you’d care to name. But discrimination against the unvaccinated is apparently fine and dandy. This cannot be allowed to stand as the way society works going forward and our elected officials need to hear about this loud and clear.