Virus Outbreak Nebraska

Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts

(The Center Square) – Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is no fan of the COVID-19 "passport" concept that would require citizens to show proof of vaccination before entering public buildings.

“This concept violates two central tenets of the American system: freedom of movement and health care privacy,” the governor said, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. “Nebraska will take any necessary action to protect the private health information of our citizens and the freedoms we cherish.”

White House officials recently said that vaccine passports should be a private sector initiative and the federal government won’t create a document proving vaccination.

Nebraska restaurants agree with Ricketts on this issue, Zoe Olson, executive director of the Nebraska Restaurant Association, told The Center Square.

"The restaurant staff would become the enforcers of this," she said of a COVID-19 passport system. "We have young people who work in our restaurants. We have high school students, we have college students. You can't expect that someone who may be 16 years old and working as a host is going to confront a person who is their parent's age or older. I can't imagine that we would support vaccine passports. We would not do that to our staff."

The fear that COVID-19 has been spread at restaurants has not turned out to be the case, Nelson said.

"Find me the super-spreader events that were traced back to restaurants," Nelson said. "They were traced back to private gatherings. The false narrative that restaurants were dangerous is so antithetical to what really happens."

Businesses have much better ventilation systems than most homes, she said.

Restaurants were trained to disinfect and sanitize surfaces long before the pandemic hit, Nelson said.

"We protect the public health," Nelson said. "We want our customers to come back."

During the pandemic, Nelson said several times that, "I feel safer eating in a restaurant than I do in my friend's home." It's not that her friends are unsanitary, she said.

"It's just that we don't tend to do things in our home the way restaurants do to protect the public," Nelson said.

For example, at home you might wash your hands in the same sink where you wash your dishes.

"We don't do that," Nelson said. "We have a hand-washing sink that is way away from the food."

Instead of vaccine passports, Nelson advocates widespread vaccination.

"My hope is that people do the right thing and everybody gets vaccinated," Nelson said.