Getting Back To Normal Shouldn’t Require Vaccine Passports

Getting Back To Normal Shouldn’t Require Vaccine Passports

By the Free Enterprise Club |

Vaccines should always be voluntary and never be forced. But COVID-19 came in like a wrecking ball last year, and perhaps its most significant contribution to the world has been an overwhelming growth in government overreach.

From the abuse of emergency orders to the senseless “mask mandates,” some government officials have leapt at the chance to dangle the carrot of “normalcy” in the faces of their citizens in order to take away more of their freedoms. Unfortunately, many have taken the bait. And now, we find ourselves at a crossroads.

The latest promise to return to normal comes in the form of “vaccine passports.” This ridiculous concept would serve as “proof” that a person has been vaccinated so he or she can have access to all the freedoms they should already be able to enjoy as an American citizen. As you would expect, Big Tech is first in line to team up with the government on such an initiative. And New York has already implemented the “Excelsior Pass” so that its citizens can “be a part of [the state’s] safe reopening.” (Given Governor Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic, what could go wrong?)

But nothing about this is normal.

It’s not normal for companies to collect the private health data of individuals. And it’s certainly not normal to force American citizens to submit to certain medical procedures as the price of doing business.

Thankfully, some of our lawmakers here in Arizona have not fallen asleep on this issue. Earlier this month, Congressman Andy Biggs introduced his No Vaccines Passports Act. This piece of legislation would prevent federal agencies from issuing any standardized documentation that could be used to certify a U.S. citizen’s COVID-19 status to a third party, such as a restaurant or an airline.

And just a few days ago, Arizona became the sixth state to ban COVID-19 passports when Governor Ducey signed Executive Order 2021-09. This prevents state agencies, counties, cities, and towns from issuing measures that require an individual to provide documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination status in to order to enter a business, building, or area to receive a government service, permit, or license. It also prevents businesses that contract with the state to provide services to the public from requiring documentation.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, Governor Ducey’s executive order still allows for businesses, schools, and health providers to ask about an individual’s vaccine status.

That’s why lawmakers should consider additional action on this issue. One option being considered is HB2190. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Bret Roberts (R-LD11) and Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-LD16), would prohibit a company that conducts business in Arizona from refusing to provide everyday services, transportation, or admission because a person does not divulge whether they have received a particular vaccine. It would also prohibit a state, county, or local government entity from offering anyone a special privilege or incentive to receive a vaccine.

Currently, HB2190 is awaiting action in the senate, and negotiations are underway on potential amendments to the bill. Regardless of what those amendments are, Arizona lawmakers need to work toward stopping vaccine passports. They are a serious threat to our civil liberties. And while we all want to return to normal, we must remember that “normal” shouldn’t come with a price tag.

Ducey Gives Businesses Green Light To Get Back Normal

Ducey Gives Businesses Green Light To Get Back Normal

By Terri Jo Neff |

Gov. Doug Ducey has issued a lot of statements during his time in office, but the one he made Friday to allow most businesses across Arizona to reopen without capacity restrictions may be the most welcome of all.

“We’ve learned a lot over the past year,” Ducey said in his announcement. “Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.”

For businesses, physical distancing and mask protocols must still remain in place. In addition, Ducey will continue to order that mayor, counties, and municipalities cannot implement “extreme measures” over and above the state’s order.

Ducey and other state officials point to seven weeks of declining new COVID19 cases in Arizona, and the distribution of more than 2 million vaccines. Friday’s announcement that capacity restrictions will be removed for restaurants, gyms, theaters, water parks, bowling alleys, and bars providing dine-in service came just days after the Arizona Free Enterprise Club called for a reopening sooner than later.

The AFEC’s March 2 statement noted Arizonans were on “day 351” of what was announced at the time as a 15-day closure effort to show the spread of COVID19, but instead many businesses were still under very restrictive capacity limits…”

Several bills introduced this legislative session aimed to help Arizonans recapture a sense of normalcy by getting kids back to school and employees back to work. Rep. Bret Roberts (R-LD14) has sponsored or co-sponsored several of those bills, including one that defines the limits of a governor’s emergency powers.

Roberts said he is glad Ducey made the announcement but is mindful that more is needed.

“I would prefer we repeal it all in one fell swoop as other states are doing,” Roberts said. “However, I am happy to see were moving in that direction albeit incrementally. It’s a good first step…but we need to do more.”

Ducey’s new order will likely also have a huge impact on Arizona’s struggling tourism industry. He will now allow Major League Baseball and other major sports organizations to seek approval from the Arizona Department of Health Services of a crowd-public health plan that demonstrates implementation of safety precautions and physical distancing.

“Today’s announcement is a measured approach; we are not in the clear yet,” Ducey added. “We need to continue practicing personal responsibility.”