Letter to the editor: A case for vaccination requirements at bars and restaurants


Perhaps, I should just stick to the occasional submission of photos to My Edmonds News, but I’ve earned the right to be an old curmudgeon and an Irish one at that. So after reading that San Francisco will now require vaccination certification for indoor dining, gyms, entertainment and the like, I feel it is more than time for others to act. If our government had acted boldly — following good science AND if more of us had responded in kind, COVID would have been on the ropes by now. Instead, we are almost back where we started, and will be dealing with a string of variants indefinitely.

I don’t think Seattle will act in toto similarly, nor our own little town of Edmonds, but I’d like to see some of our bar owners and restauranteurs act in this bold manor, on behalf of their employees and health-conscientious customers. I don’t think it would have a negative impact on their business. I can remember the wringing of hands about the ban on indoor smoking. In response, I then pointed out if Ireland could pull this off, anywhere could do so. It is my hope that some Edmonds business owners will give it a trial run.

But what do I know? Well, I humbly point out a medical degree (Georgetown ‘69), board certification in three specialties including public health (UW ‘85) and a long-standing Seattle clinic of occupational health and travel medicine. But more importantly , just an old guy who doesn’t want to impose a health risk to others and would like to dine with others of similar bent.


Kevin O’Keeffe

  1. I’m with you Kevin. Time for the community food and beverage businesses to step up and be responsible citizens.

  2. I just bought an MD friend of mine a coffee cup that says “Please do not confuse your Google search with my medical degree.” I think you’ve earned one!

    1. I am 100% Irish. So I deserve the right to say this.

      There is no Delta variant vaccine. That fact makes this whole LTE a moot point. People who are fully vaccinated against CV-19 are getting, spreading and being hospitalized from CV-21. Herd immunity is impossible with this vaccine. Science.

  3. If the vaccine is so effective, what’s it to you if there are other patrons who are not vaccinated?

    I guess the advantage is when the asymptomatic vaccinated spread COVID amongst each other, they don’t necessarily know they have it!

    But, that seems like a greater health risk than the unvaccinated who get symptomatic and then stay home and stop the spread.

  4. Hi Kevin,
    If a restaurant had a policy of allowing customers who have either had COVID with Recovery or have been vaccinated then you might be on to something. But our state health officials and governor keep overlooking the antibodies strength of previously infected people. In addition, as Brian Thompson mentioned vaccinated people and previously infected people can still carry and pass the virus on to someone else which brings us back to the beginning.

    We could also debate the effectiveness of any mask that is not an N95 but we can save that for another day.
    The vaccine is not a cure for the virus. Once “the public” discovers that we may actually understand how to deal with it better or not deal with it.

    In regards to the Delta variant or any future variants we might want to actually look at the UK who did nothing and allowed it to spike and then fall. Masking up vaccinated and previously infected people is just going to prolong this thing.

    We need to ask people who haven’t gotten COVID and actually have a risk of dying from it to get vaccinated not to protect us or save our family but to save them selves if they get the virus (because the vaccine does minimize the damage) and begin focusing on medications and care that keeps people from dying from the virus. Moving forward there is nothing else we can do.

    1. This is the smartest comment I have heard yet!
      THANK YOU SIR for being the voice of intelligent, logical Human Beings everywhere!

  5. Respectfully, where would it end? Following this logic grocery stores and other retailers would be expected to do the same. Agreeing to disagree.

  6. I agree, I suspect that, like me, there are many more fully vaccinated people waiting for restaurants and bars to tell us their staff and other patrons are fully vaccinated. ECA took this step showing great community leadership.

    1. No, ECA is different. They offer a path, albeit cumbersome and restrictive, for entry for unvaccinated persons.

  7. If Edmonds enacts this as law, I can promise to not give business to any cafe or restaurant expecting me to show papers just to eat a meal. I am starting to regret getting vaccinated

  8. I am currently visiting in San Francisco and had the opportunity to dine yesterday at a restaurant on the first day of the mandate. Everything was smooth and although there are concerns, people were very gracious about this change and also were wearing masks outside due to the crowds. Very serious here.

  9. William,
    Can you please let me know where you are getting your information regarding vaccination not helping prevent primary infection? Everything I have read from the CDC and other science publications indicate vaccination helps against primary infection. Yes there are break through cases and more of them than originally occurred with other variants but my understanding is there is still significant odds against getting it if vaccinated.
    I am very interested in knowing where your information is coming from.
    Thank you!

    1. There are a number of search results which acknowledge that though the shots may prevent disease, they still allow infection.

      Here’s an excerpt from a PubMed article, “Preclinical studies of adenovirus and mRNA candidate vaccines demonstrated persistent virus in nasal swabs (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33320052/).”

      Without diving into the science, we can see this in recent mainstream news. CNBC coverage of the outbreak in Massachusetts at the end of July revealed nearly 75% of those infected were vaccinated. But, only about 65% of adults are fully vaccinated in Massachusetts.

      This suggests the unvaccinated are less likely to fall ill than the vaccinated.

      Further study would be needed to determine if this is because the natural function of the unvaccinated is not compromised by side effects of the injection and/or because their baseline cortisol levels are less as they are generally not living in a constant state of fear.

  10. As someone who is vaccinated I would not support any establishment that engaged in this type of discrimination.

  11. Maybe businesses should give thought to installing a no contact thermometer instead of asking for vaccine records. Although not perfect, it is a good indicator of possible illness. Right now this is being used in nursing facilities, hospitals, schools, casinos to gain entry and is quick and easy to do. I am surprised that people haven’t mentioned this in recent posts. It should be paid for by the COVID money fund that each town seems to have to help with fighting this maddening virus.

  12. As someone fully vaccinated since April, I am much more comfortable entering places where the sign says “vaccinated persons only.” I am more likely to patronize such businesses, and less likely in places doing only the bare minimum.

    I’m just applying some logic here. I want to stay healthy. I suggest others do the same; this is not an issue for political posturing.

  13. A friend works in a busy restaurant and is fully vaxxed. He delivers food to the entire restaurant. He tested positive for Covid recently. He had no symptoms whatsoever. The only reason he got tested was because his Mother came down with Covid and he currently lives with his Mom. Who knows how many people he infected?

  14. Though I am thoroughly vaccinated I feel like I am restricted from going places because I have vulnerable people in my life. It is possible that I could get infected and pass this disease to someone that could die from it. Please remember that children are particularly at risk and surely most people have children they love and care about in their lives. Children’s Hospital is seeing a lot of new cases. This isn’t just about ourselves.

  15. No one has even mentioned our completely open southern border, with many sick Covid-19 spreaders in the ranks. Why is that not part of the discussion in relation to the spread of COVID-19 and the variant? Aren’t those people being sent all over the country? Should we take a look at this bigger concern, as well as discussing who is wearing a mask in an Edmonds restaurant? Could there be any connections to Edmonds vs. the country at large? I understand one is a national issue, and this is a local discussion, but doesn’t the effect one has on the other of major importance? The discussion is about getting the spread of the virus under control, isn’t it? Is anyone else as confused as I am?

    1. I didn’t realize the border was completely open! You mean the Customs an Immigration people have all gone home and the entry ports are wide open with no one there? I read just yesterday that both the Canadian and the Mexican borders were closed now until Sept 21st! Where did you learn this?

  16. Getting food is a human right. In the 80’s there were private and regulatory movements to not allow homosexuals to eat in restaurants for fear that AIDS was transmissible by sharing cutlery. Everything from fake drugs (AZT), to fake vaccines, to fake news, to real bigots. Edmonds is engaging in the same behavior. Masking between the door and your table is going to prevent the spread of a communicable disease? Cognitive dissonance, willful stupidity, is why Harbor Square Gym will allow people to play tennis without masks, but people lifting weights will need to mask up. One gym-goer is priveledge and pays a premium for different treatment maybe. It’s champagne socialism-esque, an invitation to Obama’s birthday party.


  17. I realize statistically this proves nothing, but I talked to an old friend today who is an on call mental health consultant social worker at a hospital near Ellensburg WA. He told me they went from about 5 Covid cases in ICU a couple weeks ago to just over 20 at last count. A very rapid uptick, in other words. He said of that extremely sick group, only one had been vaccinated.

    I suspect the willing will be getting Covid booster shots along with their flu shots for the foreseeable future. Flu shots are said to average about 60% effective and tend to lessen the severity of the cases of flu that the vaccinated get, even if they don’t always prevent it. I also suspect that will be the reality of the Covid vaccines and boosters in the long run. Science is often good, but seldom, if ever, perfect. It’s usually a bad idea to let “the perfect” get in the way of “the good enough” in just about any human endeavor, but we do that all the time for some reason.

  18. Thank you Jim O’Brian for your comments. There is a large group with no data. Those of us who caught Covid and have antibodies. The woman who drew my blood said the memory of the anti bodies stays in my blood. I had no idea!
    It is possible the group of people with natural immunity could be quite large. That also includes those of us who will still get the vaccine too.Politicians who don’t want to give up control are a greatest threat for me.

  19. Mask up, get your vaccines, and carry a copy of the certificate on your phone to show if asked to do so. Stop being dramatic and obstructionist, give a thought to your community and your neighbors, remember that little children are totally vulnerable and stop the whining! Either you want to help end this nightmare or you want to help continue the stand-off between political parties, jeopardizing the health and well-being of our nation.

    1. Chris, I went to Lake Chilean last week. I passed about six kids (aged 8-10) in a stairwell who were running down as fast as they could to get to the pool. They were practically falling over eachother. The mom yelled “Don’t use the handrail! COVID!” Poolside I had to keep an eye on her kids too. Don’t use the handrail? Relatively speaking, compared to the dangers of child swimming or falling down stairs, children are not in danger of CV-19. You remind me of this woman.

      1. Apologies for the inconsistent moderating of this thread. I thought I removed the implied profanity before approving but discovered in one case I did not. That language has no place here so please don’t include in the future. And on that note, it’s time to close this one.

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