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Portland Bars Plan a “Vaxx Coalition” to Uniformly Require Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Entry

“Sometimes they’ve got a photo of themselves getting the shot. I’ll take it. That’s great.”

In recent days, several Portland bars and venues have begun requesting proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entry.

Some, like the Northwest neighborhood bar Paymaster, quietly began asking about vaccination status at the door or allowing patrons who had been vaccinated to walk around maskless. Others, like Bar Bar and the attached Mississippi Studios require “proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within 48 hours” for entry.

A production company called Folk Magik Presents announced that all its shows would require vaccination proof for entry, which means that a number of upcoming Bunk Bar and Wonder Ballroom shows will require proof at the door.

Now a group of publicans seeks to formalize a vaccine requirement as a condition of entry to their watering holes.

Teardrop Lounge owner Daniel Shoemaker says he and a number of other bars—including Rum Club, Old Gold, Paydirt and Tough Luck—are working to form a coalition that will all agree to require vaccination at the door. At this time, they’re “loosely calling it “Vaxx Coalition,” Shoemaker said in a phone interview.

The initiative follows in the footsteps of San Francisco’s scene. 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. The group does not require vaccination proof for outdoor seating and lets the allied bars enforce what constitutes proof of vaccination on their terms.

Seattle similarly saw an increasing number of bars and restaurants requiring proof of vaccination, the number recently reaching 100.

Seattle and San Francisco bars have reported backlash, not from patrons but from online anti-vaxx trolls who—hearing about the vaccination-for-entry mandate—have inundated participating businesses with one-star reviews.

That’s one of the reasons Teardrop and other bars want to pull together a coalition—so that no one ends up the single target of vaccine-denier rage.

Shoemaker said that on either Friday or Monday the coalition will announce the new policy: Teardrop will require vaccination proof going forward. It already has an adjacent bar—called Crybaby—that it uses as an extra, vaccinated-only space on weekends.

For that reason, Shoemaker doesn’t think his staff will have a hard time asking for vaccination proof. “They do this all the time,” he says. And they’re willing to work with people. “Sometimes they’ve got a photo of themselves getting the shot,” he says. “I’ll take it. That’s great.”

“Anyone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated,” he adds, “will just be upset with our policy. That’s how we’ll know.”