Nationwide distribution of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is trending positively and, with a third vaccine by Johnson and Johnson recently approved by the FDA, President Joe Biden projects that all adults could be eligible for vaccination by the end of May. With the rate coronavirus-related deaths and hospitalizations dropping, several states — including New York and California — have responded by reopening in varying capacities. But this, as it was the last time and the time before that, goes against the advice of experts.
The vaccine rollout hasn’t been without major disruptions, such as limited appointments and widespread confusion about eligibility since the rules changes state by state, and sometimes even county by county. For example, restaurant workers are vaccine-eligible in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Nebraska, and New York; they can get vaccinated in Philadelphia, but not the rest of Pennsylvania. In Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott has announced a plan to end statewide mask mandates and re-open everything at 100 percent capacity on March 10, restaurant workers are not yet eligible and don’t know when they will be.
In most of the country, the percentage of the population that’s received the first round of vaccinations is still in the teens. States, territories and sovereign nations with over 20 percent of the population partially vaccinated are mostly those with low populations, such as Palau, American Samoa, and Alaska. Meanwhile, we must contend with newly emerged COVID variants, which is all to say that despite making progress, we’re not out of the woods yet. Until the majority of the population, or — at the very least — public-facing workers like servers and cashiers, are vaccinated, everyone should still be taking extreme precautions, like wearing masks and limiting exposure to people outside one’s household.
We’ll continue to update with the latest from the Eater city sites on re-openings and restaurant worker vaccine eligibility: