Here’s the deal. I was vaccinated against COVID-19 at the end of March. Technically, the proper medial term for me is that I’ve been “Double Pfizered.” And recently, New York State has opened up arrangements for additional venue capacity, essentially the state is re-opening.
Yesterday came word that New York was allowing sports stadia and arenas to open to full capacity, although masks would certainly still be required in some areas. Yankee Stadium, for one, may offer full capacity seating for vaccinated patrons, while unvaccinated patrons would have to sit in socially separated parts of the building.
Now my friend Matt is a huge Chicago White Sox fan. Hey, at least he’s not a Cubs fan, so there’s that. He and I have been talking about going to a baseball game, and the Yankees are hosting the White Sox in late May.
So I need to find out what Yankee Stadium’s new policy is regarding where vaccinated and non-vaccinated patrons may sit.
Now I could bring my CDC vaccination card with me … but New York State offers a new option, one that won’t cause me to lose my card accidentally or anything like that. It’s an Excelsior Pass, and it downloads directly onto your phone.
The pass is available online at this location; you should also be able to download the Excelsior Pass phone app from your Google Play or Apple Store. Once it’s loaded, you fill in some necessary information, answer some quick questions about when you received the vaccine and where you received it, and boom you get a downloaded Excelsior pass to your phone. You can use this to show the ticket takers at the stadium or at the arena or at the concert hall that you’re vaccinated, and in you go without any hesitation.
And now I can hear people screaming already. “Chuck, why would you allow the government to monitor you like that? Do you really want Andrew Cuomo to know whether you’re vaccinated or not?”
Listen. The government already knows what I do and where I go. Every month I get a report in my e-mail that shows Google tracking my cell phone and every place I visited. Oh, Google knows I went to the Jericho Drive-In on the 23rd? And then it knows I went to Pennsylvania on the 24th? Fun times.
And if Google’s not tracking your phone, then your anti-theft security device is tracking your car. Trust me on this. I tried using OnStar on my Pennsylvania road trip, and when I tried to program in my turn-by-turn GPS navigator (built into OnStar), the OnStar rep mentioned that they knew I was on I-787 heading southbound at that very instant. So I’ve got Dracourage and my BlackBerry dropping bread crumbs on me like they’re Hansel and Gretel. You think the vaccine has microchips that track your movements? Talk to your cell phone and your car, they’re snitching on you like that cross-eyed kid at 4th grade recess.
Look, I want to do my part to help make COVID-19 go away. And if that means getting immunized, so be it. And if it means showing that I’ve been immunized, then fine by me. Guess what? Remember those days in school when you couldn’t go on field trips because you didn’t have a signed permission slip from your parents? These are your damn permission slips to go to the ball game and to go to the theater and to go to an event.
Oh, Chuck, you’re giving up your freedom, some of the navel-gazers are chanting. No, I’m not giving up any freedoms. This is actually enhancing my freedom. I can prove with this device that I’m immunized. That I’m not carrying COVID-19. And that I can’t spread COVID-19 for the next six months. And if I need a booster shot, then I can get a booster shot and get a new Excelsior Pass to reflect same.
This isn’t a political decision. It’s a damned health decision. This is my proof that I can eat at a restaurant and not make it a strictly take-home affair. I want this. I want normalcy. I want to be able to call basketball games for the Albany Patroons again. I want the National Basketball League of Canada to have games once again, so I can compile their stats. I want to go to Syracuse and see if any of my artworks made the walls of the Harriet May Mills Art Center. And so help me God, if we can get this COVID-19 pandemic behind us to the point where I can do a Canadian Pacific Holiday Train chase in 2021… then let’s do this.
Now of course, your mileage may vary. You might have your own reasons to do or not do this. You might feel comfortable carrying your CDC card around. Or you might be okay with bringing a photocopy of same.
But you’re already paying for items by using your phone and paying with Apple Pay or Google Pay, aren’t you? You use your phone to confirm airline reservations, don’t you? Your phone already does everything short of making your bed and clipping your toenails, so why not have it available to prove you are immunized?
Trust me, this is a common sense decision. That’s all it is. Get vaccinated, get the Excelsior Pass, and get back to living again.
That’s all I’m asking.
NOTE: At no time did I receive any payment for, nor receive any promotional consideration for this unsolicited testimony regarding the Excelsior Pass and Excelsior downloadable wallet. This blog is based on the unsolicited opinion of Chuck Miller and everything inherent thereto.