By Karen Morfitt

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, more restaurants and businesses are asking their patrons to show they are vaccinated. In Boulder, there’s a new push to get restaurants to band together and require some type of vaccine passport in order to keep their doors open should we see another wave of COVID cases.

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“Last year many businesses made sacrifices, but no business more than restaurants,” said Bobby Stuckey, founder of Frasca hospitality group.

The turning point for the industry came with vaccine access, but with COVID cases ticking up again, many fear more closures are coming.

“There’s a growing consensus among restaurants that we are not going to survive this next wave if we don’t take stronger measures,” Kate LaCroix said.

LaCroix is a long-time Boulder community member with strong ties to the restaurant industry. She believes the answer continues to be vaccines.

“What I really want is to start the conversation seriously about vaccine passports and vaccine requirements to come into an establishment,” she said.

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At least one restaurant is on board — Cafe Aion. The owner, Dakota Soifer, says for him it has come down to being proactive instead of reactive.

“In the absence of leadership from our elected officials, I will move forward with asking that our guests show proof of vaccination to dine in at my restaurant. It is a small way I can try to protect my family, protect my employees, and my community,” he said in a statement.

Stuckey says it’s a bold idea that he would consider getting behind, but believes they’ve missed an important step.

“Even with really brave leadership from businesses it would not succeed unless you had civic and state leadership leading the way for a vaccine passport,” he said.

He agrees it could help keep the doors open, but without that broad support, enforcement will be an issue.

“If you are putting that responsibility on a line-level employee to tell someone you can’t eat here without showing me your vaccine passport … it’s a recipe for disaster,” Stuckey said.

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One thing they can agree on is that another year of restrictions will devastate the industry.

“The thing they want the most is to stay in business,” LaCroix said.

She is now working to get more businesses on board and get a petition in support of the initiative to the mayor of Boulder.

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Karen Morfitt