U.S.

Can a business ask for proof of vaccination for COVID-19?

At bars, you might get asked to show your ID. If you visit Costco, you can’t get in or buy anything without your membership card. Will more Americans soon need to keep their COVID-19 vaccination cards handy to return to normal?

The question has been percolating: Is it legal for a business to even ask for proof that you’re vaccinated? 

Currently, you don’t have to flash your COVID vaccine card in most businesses in order to shop or to get a table. However, businesses are generally free to require that customers show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, sometimes known as a “vaccine passport.”

Legal experts have likened the requirement to a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy.

“A business can absolutely ask that question” whether a customer has been vaccinated, said Lindsay Wiley, Director of the Health Law and Policy Program at American University Washington College of Law, during an interview with USA TODAY.

Retailers that have dropped mask rules for vaccinated people have said they don’t plan to interrogate people or request their vaccination cards at the door. The growing list includes WalmartSam’s ClubCostco, StarbucksTarget and CVS.

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Who should track vaccination status? 

For the most part, letting consumers go maskless has been on the honor system.

But there are some exceptions. In Oregon, the state’s health authority issued new guidance last month requiring businesses to verify the vaccination status of people who visited without masks. 



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