Republican Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon took action Friday to ban state agencies, boards, and commissions from mandating citizens show proof of “vaccine passports” to gain access “to state spaces and services.”
“Vaccine passport programs have the potential to politicize a decision that should not be politicized,” Gordon said in a statement. “They would divide our citizens at a time when unity in fighting the virus is essential, and harm those who are medically unable to receive the vaccine. While I strongly encourage Wyomingites over the age of 16 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is a personal choice based upon personal circumstances.”
Wyoming wrestled with vaccine passport bans for months. In March, a resolution was put forth in the House to “protect citizens against unconstitutional and medically irresponsible COVID-19 vaccine mandates” but was not considered by representatives. The directive signed by Gordon will apply to all government buildings but not the private sector. However, the governor encourages private businesses to not mandate that people show proof of vaccine documentation to gain access.
Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Montana have all passed some variation of legislation banning vaccine passports. The Indiana and Iowa legislatures approved measures to block vaccine passports, and similar bills have been put forth in several other states. The Wyoming governor said in April he was opposed to such mandatory documentation. More than 26 percent of Wyoming residents have received the vaccine, according to the state’s health department.
“Wyoming has no plans to require vaccine passports or require participation in a vaccine passport program,” Gordon’s spokesman Michael Pearlman told a local paper. “While the governor encourages residents to get vaccinated, COVID-19 vaccinations are entirely voluntary in the state of Wyoming.”