Governor Lamont considering digital COVID vaccine passport for Connecticut


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH/WWLP) — The COVID-19 numbers and hospitalizations continue to trend in the downward direction here in Connecticut, and now Governor Ned Lamont is considering a digital vaccine passport, like one being used in major cities already.

Whether it’s outdoor dining or indoor dining, you have to have the mask on in some towns, while in others you don’t. The governor is thinking about making verification a digital passport. You walk in and show it or go to a website where you can prove you’re vaccinated.

That might take some of the burden off of the restaurants and concert halls, but the idea doesn’t sit well with some. 

Governor Lamont said Monday, “That would allow restaurants and bars and employers easier way to verify when people say they are vaccinated.”

The governor looking at trends around the country. Scott Dolch with the Connecticut Restaurant Association says it’s being used in many major cities already.

“I’m actually going to a 2,000 person event in Washington D.C. this Sunday, and I had to go through the process of getting a digital vaccination card that I show and I think that is a little bit of the norm,” Dolch explained.

It’s not just for restaurants; the passport can be used for concert halls or sporting events or major venues. The question is, should it be mandatory or voluntary?

Bob Gendron of Hartford told News 8, “They should require it if I don’t have to wear a mask at all. What’s the point of getting vaccinated if you still have to wear a mask?“

Lou Sterling is the owner of Rooster’s Chicken and Waffles. He has six locations expecting to grow to ten by the end of the year. He said it’s good to have another layer of security, even if it is voluntary.

“Being around people with no masks, being around people with masks on, by you showing that you have proof of being vaccinated, I don’t see anything wrong with that. You don’t want to carry a piece of paper, go digital. We are in a digital age now,” said Sterling.

At Bear Smokehouse in the capital city, employees think it would be nice do you have another layer of security even if it is voluntary.

Chris Carr of Bear’s Smokehouse said, “We have people from all over the world, we have pilots in here right now, ‘I just flew in from all over.’ You have to take them for their word that they have their vaccination, so it makes you nervous. I would like to have something a little more solid myself.”

The governor has said if they go with a digital vaccine card, it should be voluntary not mandatory – unlike New York where it is required to get into a restaurant, bar, or large venue.

Dolch says it’s causing a lot of headaches for restaurant owners. He says diners are coming to restaurants saying “‘I can’t find my card’ or ‘it’s in my car I don’t want to go back.’ Those issues are happening in New York City, and it’s a challenge because that’s a table of two that I needed.”

We want to emphasize this is in the exploratory stage. Gov. Lamont is just looking into it; he’s keeping a close eye on how New York is working and he says it’s something else to consider as we move forward into the winter months.

Connecticut does have a vaccine verification website where you can check the status of your recent vaccines.

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