Portland Bars Form A ‘Vaxx Coalition’ And Can We Get More Of This, Please?

by Michaela Brown
Scary Mommy and MaximFesenko/Getty

The messages being sent to the selfish, power-hungry governors and other politicians—who’d rather pander to the GOP than save the lives of the people in their state—are giving me hope. Major school districts across Texas—Dallas, Austin, San Antonio—are implementing mask mandates and basically saying FUCK YOU to Governor Abbott, who prohibited such measures. And some districts in Florida have done the same, including Broward County, which is the second-largest district in the state.

The tourism industry has been making similar statements, despite governors telling them they can’t. When festering boil on the bottom of our foot/vile Trump-lackey Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, said cruise companies couldn’t require a “vaccine passport” from tourists before boarding (i.e. show their vaccine card), a U.S. judge said yes they sure can! And many of them will.

Because the truth is, if safety measures aren’t in place in schools, kids and teachers are going to get sick. Some will die. If safety measures aren’t in place on cruise ships, passengers and crew will get sick. Some will die. So school districts and cruise companies and a whole host of other groups have every right to call these governors out on their bullshit political tactics and stand up for what’s right and what’s necessary to save their own industry and the lives of those inside their facilities.


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And now, another crop of businesses is standing up, standing together, saying “If politicians won’t do it, we will.”

Local news source Willamette Week reports that 15 Portland bars have joined a “Vaxx Coalition”, meaning they’ll be requiring proof of vaccination before they’ll seat you inside their bar. And, the newspaper says that the coalition expects 20 more bars to join them by Monday.

Also, other Portland-area businesses not currently on this list have made similar declarations about what they’ll require from patrons who wish to enter their premises.

“Hey Love, the cocktail lounge in the Jupiter Next Hotel, announced it would require vaccination proof for indoor service on Aug. 4,” Willamette Week says. “Mississippi Studios, and the attached Bar Bar, will require ‘proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within 48 hours’ for entry. But they’re also offering free, onsite ‘rapid’ antigen tests to guests that can’t show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The same policy is in place at Revolution Hall.”

Also, bars and other venues are realizing that the more they push a vaxx-only type establishment, the more musical acts and performers will come. For example, the Portland-based production company Folk Magik has said that the venue staff will ask for proof of vaccination from all guests prior to entry from now on.

Portland isn’t alone, either. Another article on Willamette Week shares that “On July 26, 300 bars belonging to the San Francisco Bar Owners Alliance announced they would require customers to show proof of vaccination in order to sit inside.”

And in Seattle, nearly 100 bars and restaurants have stated that they’ll be requiring proof of vaccination too.

Even in cities like Baltimore, where CBS Baltimore reports a local restaurant called True Chesapeake Oyster Co. will, starting on August 18, require proof of vaccination before customers can enter. The same goes for staff. The restaurant’s executive chef Zack Mills says he didn’t take this decision lightly and knew he might lose some customers. “We just felt like it was the right thing to do,” he said.

As it turns out, his customer base agrees, and after making the announcement, reservations have increased. Well done, Chef Mills.

Also in the Baltimore area, the indie-rock club Ottobar and Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland are requiring some sort of vaccine proof or negative test before visitors can come to their shows.

And then there’s cities like NYC, where the mayor is trying to implement his “Key to NYC” plan, mandating that everyone has to show proof of vaccination before entering pretty much anything—restaurants, bars, concerts, gyms… and, again, to that I say, BRAVO New York. Slow clap. Hopefully more cities will follow yours and Portland’s lead.

Will these businesses lose customers as a result? Probably. In fact, Seattle and San Francisco businesses have already reported backlash—not from local patrons in person, but instead, from angry online internet trolls who are giving them 1-star reviews in retaliation, Willamette Week reports.

Sounds like they’ll take your fake-ass reviews, Steve, in favor of protecting the health of their employees and people actually paying them money to eat their food and drink their beer.

And, their response is perfection—band together so none of them are the single target of anti-vaxx rage.

Plus, bad reviews or not, bars like Bar West, Deadshot, and Hi-Hop Tavern will also likely gain a whole host of patrons (and new employees seeking a safe workplace) who will happily frequent an establishment where they know everyone is vaccinated and/or has tested negative before entering.

Patrons like me. In fact, Portland is on our bucket list of cities to visit, and as soon as my husband and I can make it out there, you can be damn sure the businesses who openly declared themselves be “vaxx-only” will be getting our money. (I’m looking at you, Slingshot Lounge.)

So how will it all work? Well, Teardrop Lounge owner Daniel Shoemaker says his staff is used to handling this process. “They do this all the time,” he says. And he’ll take different forms of proof too. “Sometimes they’ve got a photo of themselves getting the shot,” he adds. “I’ll take it. That’s great.”

Finally, Shoemaker makes this valuable point: “Anyone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated will just be upset with our policy. That’s how we’ll know.”

Mmmhmm. That’s how you’ll know.

So to all the anti-vaxxers who say things like “My body, my choice!” and “You can’t make me get the vaccine! I have rights!” … you’re correct. You still have a choice. But private businesses have a choice too. Their owners and employees also have rights. Restaurant owners have the right to say, “You can’t eat here.” Concert venues can say, “You can’t attend shows here.” Gym owners have the right to say, “You can’t work out here.” Airlines can say, “You can’t fly on our planes.” Hotels can say, “You can’t stay here.” Colleges and universities can say, “You can’t attend classes here.”

See how it all works? You have the right to get vaxxed or not get vaxxed, but your choice either way will have consequences. And, most importantly, you don’t have the right to risk the health of the greater community. Just like smoking is no longer allowed in most buildings because we all have the right to not breathe in secondhand smoke, anti-vaxxers will be continue to be banned from more and more establishments across the country as well.

I guess the new saying is “No shirt, no shoes, NO SHOT, no service.” And I’m here for it.