CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Gov. Ralph Northam has lifted the mask mandate, but can business owners and employers still legally require you to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination?
The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the governor’s office have created a number of questions for businesses and the public.
Business owners can choose whether to require you to wear a mask. Legally, a business can ask you for proof of a vaccine.
“I think most businesses are going to have a hard time proving that somebody’s been vaccinated,” Associate Attorney Justin Steele with the Law Office of James Steele, PLLC said.
At the end of the day, Steele says it’s really up to people’s honesty. Asking customers for proof of vaccination doesn’t violate HIPAA law and neither do employers asking employees to show proof.
“The individual is free to give out whatever medical information they want to anyone they want,” Steele said.
Northam did officially rule out requiring statewide vaccine passports.
Steele says his Petersburg law firm is one of those businesses that’s choosing to continue requiring masks.
“Until everybody’s actually vaccinated, I think it’s important to keep playing it safe and try to make sure that you keep your employees safe and the general public as safe as possible,” he said.
If you refuse to wear a mask in a business that’s chosen to still require them or refuse to give proof of your vaccination, the business can still refuse service.
“Pretty much any business owner has the ability to refuse service to anybody for any particular reason,” Steele said.
Virginia still requires fully vaccinated people to wear masks on public transportation, at healthcare and correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
People who are not vaccinated will not be required to wear a mask in public but will be strongly encouraged to do so still, according to a previous release from the governor’s office.