New tool from VDH will allow businesses to quickly verify vaccination status

COVID-19 vaccination card
Posted at 2:49 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 07:37:33-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The Virginia Department of Health will soon offer a tool where businesses could scan a QR code from someone's phone to verify their vaccination status.

Dr. Danny Avula, the state vaccination czar, said Tuesday the new tool could be available in two to three weeks. It would be an optional tool for businesses, not part of a state vaccination passport.

Right now around the country, more and more businesses are requiring proof of vaccination.

"If you want to travel, if you want to go on a cruise, some restaurants are included in this - where you would present proof of vaccination before getting to participate," said Avula. "We certainly want to make it easy for people to participate in those things if that's a requirement of a private sector entity."

Avula expects proof of vaccination could become more commonly required once a vaccine gets full FDA approval, which is expected to happen with the Pfizer vaccine next month.

Local businesses are continuing to adapt to the changing nature of the pandemic.

"I wake up every day checking to see what's happening and what to do next," said Pamela Katrancha, the owner of Garden Gazebo at MacArthur Center Mall in Norfolk.

Katrancha says she'd support the idea of more vaccine requirements but thinks it may be tougher for small businesses like hers to enforce.

"For those of who own small businesses, we're waiting for an official word to try and enforce that," she said.

With the CDC shifting mask mandates over the summer, Katrancha says it's a fine line for businesses.

"Business isn't what we want it to be, so it's very hard to turn a customer away. If someone walks in without a mask, we don't ask them to leave at this point," she said.

Still, others customers say vaccine requirements would be a turnoff.

"I think it's a bunch of baloney," said one shopper on Granby Street. "I'd walk away."