An increasing number of places across the United States are requiring people to show evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination to teach in schools, work in hospitals, watch concerts or eat inside restaurants.
Following the New York City initiative, New Orleans and San Francisco will impose such rules on several businesses starting next week, while Los Angeles is studying the idea.
The new measures are an attempt to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases that has pushed hospitals to breaking point and caused top officials to warn that they are running out of beds in pediatric intensive care units (ICUs).
On Friday, the school system in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest district, with more than 360,000 students, announced that it would require all teachers and other staff to be fully vaccinated by mid-October unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption.
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Philadelphia decreed that health care workers, along with college students and staff, must have their injections by mid-October.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell described proof of vaccination as the best way to protect businesses. It said it was not imposing capacity limits or considering shutdowns similar to those that devastated businesses in the region in 2020.
“Unlike the time last year, we have a tool that we didn’t have,” she said, referring to the vaccines.
Officials hope that this requirement translates into large numbers of people getting the shots, something that cash awards and scholarships have not been able to achieve.
Critics say requiring people to be vaccinated to enter a business violates their rights and privacy.
At least 18 states led by Republican governors or legislatures prohibit the creation of so-called vaccine passports or prohibit public entities from requiring proof of vaccination. Many of those — including Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota and Texas — also prevent most companies from refusing to serve those who haven’t been vaccinated.
US President Joe Biden has urged cities to adopt proof of vaccination requirements for restaurants and other businesses.
New York City’s policy, which applies to restaurants, bars and other similar venues, will go into effect Monday, but inspections and enforcement will not begin until September 13 — the week schools reopen. Customers will have to provide proof that they have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The city is also requiring all municipal employees – including teachers and police officers – to be vaccinated by mid-September or take a weekly test.
San Francisco has gone a step further than New York, asking diners at indoor restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues to show they’ve been fully vaccinated. The rule will go into effect on August 20.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues paper cards to people when they get their injections. California is among the few states that have created an online record with a barcode that people can use to prove their status. The mayor of San Francisco said a photo of the CDC card would suffice.
What is happening in Canada
What is happening around the world
As of Friday, more than 205.4 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, according to the coronavirus tracker run by US-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll has reached more than 4.3 million.
in a AsiaThe Tokyo Olympics are over, but cases are still rising amid calls to limit gatherings. On Friday, the Japanese capital recorded 5,773 new cases, exceeding the previous record of 5,042 cases last week. However, many are ignoring government requests to avoid travel and congregate in bars and restaurants.
In the Americas, 27 people on a Carnival cruise have tested positive for COVID-19 before the ship stopped in Belize City this week, according to the Belize Tourism Board. The board said in a statement that positive cases were among 26 crew members and one passenger at Carnival Vista, which is carrying more than 1,400 crew and nearly 3,000 passengers. On Wednesday, the ship arrived in Belize City.
in a EuropeHealth officials in the Russian capital said deaths in Moscow rose by 60 percent in July compared to the same month a year ago, as the country set a new record for Covid-19 deaths. Moscow’s Health Ministry said on Friday that 17,237 people died last month – a figure that included 6,583 coronavirus-related deaths, which equates to a COVID-19 death rate of 3.95 percent.
in a AfricaSouth Africa’s health minister, Jo Pahla, said the authorities would not recommend easing the level 3 lockdown measures currently, despite the overall downward trend in infections during the third wave. He said the country of 60 million people has only fully vaccinated about four million people as a wave of infections caused by the most contagious delta strains has overburdened hospitals and health workers.
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