TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – With record-setting COVID-19 cases happening in Florida, the pandemic shows no signs of slowing, promising instead, more problems rather than progress.
As a result, places like New York City are now making new rules with a new norm. The city will soon institute a vaccine passport requirement known as, the ‘Key to NYC.’
And, as a credit card slogan once stated, “Don’t leave home without it.”
“If you’re vaccinated, all that’s opened up to you, it’s all yours, you’ve got the key, you can open the door,” said Mayor Bill DeBlasio. “But, if you’re unvaccinated, you won’t be able to participate in many things. That’s the point we’re trying to get across.”
The policy will go into effect on Aug. 16 but inspections and enforcement won’t begin until Sept. 13 — the week the city’s public schools reopen for fall.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned vaccine passports, a move supported by many, citing privacy as a major concern.
“Once we go down the road of medical records being released, we’re down a slippery slope and it doesn’t need to be,” said Tampa resident, Ed Miller.
Miller has lived in Tampa since the early ’90s, and while he supports getting the vaccine, he is very much against being forced to show proof that he has.
“Information is protected, and it is protected by the constitution and by law. So, it needs to stay protected,” said Miller.
Others, however, agree with vaccine passports including resident Chip Burgess who says it’s not about taking away your rights in public, rather it’s about keeping the public safe, in public places.
“Well, then you have a choice, you go in there and eat, or you go somewhere else. The choice is still yours, either way,” Burgess said.
8 On Your Side reached out to the mayors of Tampa Bay’s largest cities Jane Castor and Rick Kriseman.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor had this to say about vaccine passports.
“Tampa is monitoring local data and talking to health experts constantly, but so far no new policies planned. Our options are limited given the governor’s executive order, but, like the governor, we are urging everyone to get vaccinated because that’s the most effective way to keep people safe. We require all city employees to wear masks indoors unless they show they are vaccinated,” said Mayor Castor.
St. Petersburg Rick Kriseman also weighed in on the vaccine passport issue telling 8 On Your Side,.
“I am very concerned about the alarming rise in COVID-19 numbers, here in Florida and in Pinellas County. I am even more frustrated that the State has seen fit to tie the hands of local leaders, when our only goal is the health and safety of our citizens. I have been meeting with my leadership team and local health professionals to discuss options for St. Petersburg moving forward.”