4 News Now Q&A: Can businesses and restaurants require you to be vaccinated?

Your Questions Answered

Q: Can businesses and restaurants require you to be vaccinated?

A: The saying “No shirts, no shoes, no service” has been around for decades. But what about “No shot, no service”? That’s the new standard for many restaurants and bars around the Northwest. This week, we learned one Spokane bar is following their lead.

After 5 p.m., when Baby Bar in downtown Spokane opens, patrons will now have to show their vaccine card at the door or they won’t get in. The bar started this policy last week, and the owner says most people have been just fine with it.

RELATED: Spokane’s Baby Bar requiring guests to show proof of COVID vaccination

Others are reluctant to disclose their vaccination status, and question if making it a requirement is even legal.

The short answer is yes. Legal experts say businesses are allowed to ask for proof of vaccination.

While your vaccine card does qualify as protected health information, HIPAA privacy laws only apply to the medical industry, not restaurants and businesses. Those place can generally refuse service to anyone.

If a restaurant asks to see your vaccination card, you do not have to comply. You could simply choose to take your business elsewhere.

As vaccination requirements become more common, experts have some tips to safely carry your vaccine card:

  • Take a photo of the front and back of your card and keep it handy on your phone in case you need to show it.
  • Avoid sharing your card on social media. You card has sensitive information, like your name and date of birth.
  • Don’t laminate it. You may need booster shots in the future as experts learn more about the virus and the vaccines.

What are you curious about? Submit your questions HERE.