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VERIFY: Can businesses require patrons and employees to be vaccinated?

Businesses around Georgia and the country have started posting signs saying they require proof of COVID-19 vaccination. But is that legal?

ATLANTA — It's going viral, restaurant's requiring patrons to show COVID-19 vaccine cards in order to enter. 

As a result, a lot of commentary has been happening online around whether this is legal. 

Our 11Alive VERIFY team went to the experts to find out. 


Can businesses require customers to show a vaccine card in order to enter? 

Can companies require their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine? 


Yes, businesses can require you to get your vaccine in order to get service. 

And Yes, it is also true that according to a federal court ruling in June, private employers can require employees to get vaccinated. 


A post from Argosy, a restaurant in East Atlanta, has been getting thousands of reactions and comments on Instagram. 

The gastro-pub says "No Vaccine - No Service." 

But can they do that?

RELATED: Another Atlanta bar implements 'no vax, no entry' policy

Credit: Argosy

According to legal expert Page Pate, businesses cannot discriminate against you based on race, sex, religion, and medical disability. But vaccinations are not on that list. 

"A restaurant has the absolute right to decide if they want their customers vaccinated. There is nothing in the law to prevent them from doing that," Pate explained.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says you're not obligated to say you're vaccinated or not. 

But Pate says businesses can ask for proof of vaccination, without violating HIPPA rights. 

"Showing a vaccine card is not a violation of federal law in relating to access to medical records," Pate said. 

A state law that requires restaurants to serve people without the vaccine could impact this. But, there is no law like that right now. 

So, we can VERIFY that businesses can require you to get your vaccine in order to get service. 

When it comes to requiring employees to get the vaccine, a federal court says they can

The court ruling in June upheld the right of private employers to require all of their employees to get the COVID-19 shots, just as employers have already been permitted to order employees to get flu shots and other vaccines. 

The ruling confirms an earlier EEOC decision that all private employers can legally order their employees to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless the worker has a religious or medical exemption.

So, we can VERIFY this claim is also true.

Our VERIFY team is here to fact-check claims being shared in the community and online. Fill out the form below with something you'd like us to Verify.

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