ATLANTA — As more people become vaccinated for COVID-19, businesses are trying to make customers as comfortable as possible. One Atlanta business plans to offer classes to those who are fully vaccinated.
Sacred Thread Yoga in East Atlanta Village is still trying to recover from its pandemic losses. For nearly a year, owner Annelise Lonidier has been reaching out to the yoga studio's community, hoping to pull students back to the mat.
Starting next month, the studio will offer classes where admission will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.
"This is a great way for us to address some of the hesitancy in coming back after they’ve been vaccinated and really to make it feel like a safe space, not only for them, but they also don’t have to worry about the other people in class with them," Lonidier said.
Recently, Lonidier sent a survey to clients asking if they planned to get the vaccine. About 90 percent of the community said they planned to get vaccinated and many already had at least received one dose.
Open classes will still be offered to those who have not received a shot. The studio reopened in May, but lost 80 percent of its revenue and had to close its second location.
Most students have either opted for online or outdoor classes.
"We are finally getting to a place of coming full circle where the idea of going into a room with other people and sharing space doesn’t feel so scary and starts to feel like a real possibility," said Lonidier.
The studio’s decision hits on a debate brewing on a national level over vaccine passports, government issued cards, or smartphone badges that show someone is fully vaccinated.
The idea is to bring some normalcy back to those who are fully vaccinated, but experts said a federal vaccine passport raises some ethical concerns.
"You end up creating two classes of people, one with privilege, one without. And the way vaccination trends happen in our country the one without tends to be poor, tends to be more people of color, tends to be the disenfranchised," said Paul Root Wolpe, director of Emory University's center for ethics.
"So you’ve really created a privileged class and not privileged class.
Right now, the passports are still just an idea, but airlines have at least asked President Joe Biden's COVID task force to look into them.
Meanwhile, Wolpe said using vaccination cards could become a tool for some businesses, like Sacred Thread, to help protect public health.