Seattle, the largest city in the state, where the first U.S. Covid-19 case was confirmed over two years ago, will remove its proof-of vaccination requirement for restaurants and theaters, starting March 1.
City and county employees who have worked from home for over two years will soon be called into the office.
Other major cities, such as Philadelphia, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C., are following the trend of falling rates of Covid-19 infections from coast to coast. According to NBC News' , the national average daily case count has fallen by 67 percent over the past two weeks.
New York Governor says "Numbers will fall, and it's time to adapt." Kathy Hochul stated that the stringent mandate by New York State, which required businesses and individuals to show proof of complete vaccinations or mask-wearing at indoor venues, had expired.
On Thursday, Mayor Ras Baraka, New Jersey's mayor, lifted the requirement that proof of vaccination be presented at restaurants or other public venues.
Baraka stated in a statement that "the data shows we are making tremendous advances." "Our three-day rolling mean for the City is 2.5%," Baraka said. "We haven't been here for a while."
Public health experts are keeping a close eye on the situation. They point out that over 103,000 Americans have died from Covid in the U.S. so far in 2022. And that although 76 percent have had at least one shot, many millions still have not.
"I wish the pandemic was over and that it was safe to lift vaccine mandates. This is especially true in areas where masks are not required for drinking and eating. "This seems like a move that promotes normalcy without actually being normal," Dr. Sadiya Khan of Northwestern University Feinberg School Of Medicine said. "Vaccine mandates can be safe and effective public health strategies and reversing this will only lead to more spread."
Khan stated that she was sympathetic to the "business perspective to eliminate vaccine mandates and encourage more patrons or guests."
She added that this puts at risk those with immunocompromised or who can't get vaccinated yet.
Anthony Santella is the Director of the Department of Health Administration and Policy, University of New Haven, Connecticut.
"It's too soon," Santella said. "We experienced this during the summer when many thought that things were returning to normal. We rolled back mitigation policies to stop the spread."
The experts stated that the next step was the delta variant. This was followed by the more contagious Omicron variant. These infected both unvaccinated as well as vaccinated individuals and forced authorities to impose tighter pandemic protocols.
Santella stated that when they tried to reimpose the measures, they received pushback even from people who were previously open to them. Things have changed dramatically. This isn't over. We need to be patient.
In King County, Washington, Seattle's home, daily infected rates have dropped by 83 percent and hospitalizations have dropped by 62 percent. Local officials stated that they are less hesitant about removing the vaccine mandates.
"Our public health specialists believe now is the right time to lift vaccine verification. This is based on high rates of vaccination coverage and decreases in hospitalizations across this country," Dow Constantine, County Executive, said Wednesday. "We are moving in a positive direction and can continue to take additional steps towards recovery.
No matter what vaccination status, masks will be required in all indoor public places within the county.
Josh Henderson, owner of two Burbs Burgers branches located in Seattle, said The Seattle Times that the change was "long overdue."
He said, "This was absurd from the beginning to check vaccination cards." We will not check your vax cards as we did before. We welcome everyone."
Washington, D.C., home to the highest number of Covid cases since the heights of the omicron waves, Mayor Muriel Bowser presented constituents with a post Valentine's Day present. She announced that no proof of vaccination would be required at restaurants or entertainment venues beginning February 28.
Bowser stated that the rule could be reintroduced if a new version is developed.
She said, "We need to be agile if something changes, as it did in December with a new very contagious variant." "I don’t think anyone can tell us here that there won’t be other variants, which would require us all to do something else."
Although Chicago's proof-of-vaccination requirement is still in force , Highland Park's City Council allowed the requirement that all persons over 5 years old show proof of vaccination in order to be admitted to an establishment to lapse.
"The numbers have dramatically improved on the required health care statistics," Mayor Nancy Rotering stated to The Chicago Tribune. "We are trying to find the right balance between reducing the strain on our healthcare system and getting back to normal."
Last week, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced with Melvin Carter, the Mayor of St. Paul, that they would lift the immunization requirements for bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues which were imposed Jan. 19.
Carter stated, "We are grateful that we are in a different position now than when this requirement first came into effect." "While I urge residents to continue to get vaccinated and wear masks while indoors, the sharp fall in vaccine-related hospitalizations and cases means that we can safely lift the city's vaccine requirement."
Michelle Wu, the Mayor of Boston, stated that the city's proof of vaccination mandate for bars and restaurants, as well as gyms, was lifted Jan. 15.
According to NBC News figures, such requirements were never imposed on Texas and Florida. These states have seen the highest numbers of Covid deaths and cases since the outbreak. Any Florida business that asks for proof of vaccination will be subject to a $5,000 fine.
Florida and Texas' pathetic statistics are only eclipsed by California's, the nation's most populous.
However, California's population is nearly 70% fully vaccinated. The vaccination requirements differ from one place to the next. Los Angeles and West Hollywood require that all businesses verify their vaccination records. However, the City Council of Santa Monica voted against this rule. The Santa Monica Daily Press reported that 91 percent of the city's residents had received at least one shot.
The state continues to require people to show that they have been vaccinated in order to attend large indoor and outdoor " megaevents," such as concerts and sporting events.