Once the US Border Opens, You’ll Need a Vaccine Passport Checklist

With most of Canada’s provinces adopting some form of vaccine passport rules for entry to venues such as sports events, restaurants, public buildings, and other indoor functions, large portions of the US—particularly sunbelt states familiar to Canadian seasonal visitors—remain far less demanding of guests from up North, or anywhere else.

Once the US land border opens to Canadians you may want to take note of where you might be asked to show proof that you’ve had your two shots…and where that won’t be necessary. Your vaccination card or mobile app confirmation should be acceptable.

As of September 22, 2021, governments in 20* states have ordered or signed bills prohibiting government agencies from issuing COVID-19 vaccine identification cards or requiring proof of vaccination (cards or mobile apps) as a condition of entry for any premises. These states* include such Canadian target locations as Florida, Arizona, Alabama, Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia, as well as border states Idaho and Montana. In many of these states, masks are optional, left to personal choice. In Florida supermarkets, for example, there appear to be more unmasked than masked patrons. In these states masking is left to personal choice for the most part except for entry into health care facilities. (*Source: Ballot Pedia)

New York State, on the other hand, requires vaccine verification to enter most public venues like restaurants, theatres, and sports events, and masking is also widely required. Oregon allows vaccinated patrons to gather without masks in indoor venues.

In California, most decisions about vaccine requirements are left to individual cities and counties, so it’s best to have proof of complete vaccination at hand if travelling in that state. And in California, as well as most other states that require full vaccination, the term “vaccination” means two jabs with the same vaccine brand—or one jab of Johnson & Johnson. Mixed brands don’t meet the definition of “fully vaccinated,” but then a lot also depends on how perspicacious your document inspector (often your server) is.

In Hawaii, proof of vaccination is a widespread requirement, so be prepared. It’s a long way to go to be marooned outside of the airport bar.  

And if you’re travelling to Florida to board a cruise ship at one of its five ports, be prepared to show proof of vaccination—and that also means two jabs of the same brand. Mixed-brand vaccinations are not accepted for boarding on most of the major cruise lines. If you don’t show such proof, you may still be allowed to board (except on Norwegian Cruise Line vessels) but you will not be allowed the full run of the ship (like premier restaurants, saunas, pools, and other gatherings) and you’ll have to be masked. In effect you will be travelling second class—noticeably so. We note, however, that the cruise lines are imposing the vaccine-proof rules in defiance of a Florida law banning such practice while their challenge works its way through the courts. So stay tuned.

© Copyright 2021 Milan Korcok. All rights reserved.

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