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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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65 views   |   2   |   Last updated on Jun 09, 2021    COVID-19 Consumer Protection

As a Customer

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 968 into law. This law includes language that prohibits state and local governments and some businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to get access to services. The law went into effect on June 7th, 2021. The governor also issued Executive Order GA-35 [PDF] on April 5th, 2021. This executive order says that private businesses that receive public funds cannot require proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

As this news article from the Texas Tribune explains, SB 968 says that businesses may not require their customers show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or else they “will be denied state contracts and could lose their licenses or operating permits.” Specifically, the law says:

(c)  A business in this state may not require a customer to provide any documentation certifying the customer's COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery on entry to, to gain access to, or to receive service from the business.  A business that fails to comply with this subsection is not eligible to receive a grant or enter into a contract payable with state funds.

Executive Order GA-35 prohibits:

  • Public and private organizations that receive “public funds through any means” from requiring consumers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to receive service or enter a place.

However, nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities may still “require documentation of a resident's vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine.”

For information about whether a business can require you to wear a face mask, see Can a business require me to wear a mask?

As an Employee

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has said that, in most cases, employers can require their employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination if the employees are showing up to work in person.

If an employee is not able to get vaccinated due to a disability or chooses not to get vaccinated due to a “sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance,” the employer may need to provide “reasonable accommodations” to their vaccination policy. In these cases, “reasonable accommodations” should be provided unless the accommodations would present an “undue hardship” on the business. See Section K of the EEOC's FAQ page on this topic for more information.

When Receiving Government Services

Executive Order GA-35 prohibits:

  • Governmental entities from forcing “any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization,” and
  • State agencies and political subdivisions from adopting a law, rule, or policy that requires people to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to receive service or enter a place.

However, nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities may still “require documentation of a resident's vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine.”

According to SB 968, government entities in Texas may not issue “vaccine passports” or other documentation of COVID-19 vaccination unless it's for health care. The law says:

(b)  A governmental entity in this state may not issue a vaccine passport, vaccine pass, or other standardized documentation to certify an individual's COVID-19 vaccination status to a third party for a purpose other than health care or otherwise publish or share any individual's COVID-19 immunization record or similar health information for a purpose other than health care.

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