By Greg Marchetto
COVID cases are rising once again, this time due to the Delta Variant. The stock market braced in the last week for the possibility of lockdown re-institutions across the country, resulting in losses across the S&P, Dow Jones, and Nasdaq.
To Gavin Newsom’s delight, he gained another opportunity to bash the unvaccinated and enforce his tyrannical power over California citizens. Last week, Newsom blamed right-wing pundits for the rise of the Delta Variant, a cover-up for his administration’s failures to contain the coronavirus within California- one of the worst states in COVID-19 cases and deaths. His administration is expected to put California under lockdown once again, and institute vaccine requirements across all businesses, schools, and even small businesses in the next month.
Restaurants have started to heed Newsom’s guidance, taking their own authority on vaccine requirements. Bars and restaurants outside of San Diego have started asking for proof of vaccination, and the San Francisco Bar Alliance officially recommended establishments to ask for customer’s vaccination cards.
On an ethical level, policies during the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed the limits of patient privacy and personal liberties. While employers and schools must make organizational decisions based on their employee’s health, the restaurant business has no right to intrusively demand private individual’s patient records. The practice will lead to unwarranted discrimination solely based on vaccination status, even if customers agree to mask up.
Furthermore, these rules aren’t practical. A recent Israel study found the Pfizer/Bionetch vaccine was only 39% effective in preventing Delta variant infection, a dramatic change from the previous report that had shown 88% efficacy. Scientists are realizing that current vaccination technology may not reduce the spread of the Delta Variant all that much, even though it prevents severe infection. In effect, selectively serving vaccinated individuals may pose little benefit to the population, while also setting a dangerous precedent for patient privacy rules. If you are forced to share your private vaccination records with restaurants currently, what comes next?