The Dare County Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on April 6 that it is discontinuing its OBX Safer Spot program that was designed to recognize establishments and organizations with at least 70% of their employees vaccinated against COVID and to send a reassuring message to their potential clients and customers.
“We have decided not to continue the Safer Spot Campaign.” DHHS Communications Special Kelly Nettnin emailed in response to a Voice query. “Some individuals have used this initiative as an opportunity to spread fear, negativity and hate. Our businesses work too hard to endure unfounded criticism. We appreciate all the business community is doing to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Dare County.”
When DHHS introduced the initiative that it unveiled in conjunction with the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce last week, DHHS Director Sheila Davies noted that, “we feel that any establishment with at least 70% of employees vaccinated is, in fact, a Safer Spot.” Chamber of Commerce President Karen Brown added that, “We hope establishments will want to be a part of this campaign, as not only will it make patrons more comfortable, but it can also help employees feel safer.”
But an angry backlash to the idea developed quickly on social media, with anti-vaccination forces, and perhaps others, threatening, among other things, not to patronize businesses that displayed the OBX Safer Spot window sticker for reaching the 70% vaccination goal. One social media post, typical of that sentiment, had a red nullification sign scrawled over a story announcing the program.