A popular post on social media claims businesses in the U.S. can’t legally require customers to provide proof of vaccination or deny entry based on vaccination status. But experts say that's not true.
PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols explored those claims with anchor Randol White in this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
On the origins of the post
This comes from a website called “Healthy American.” It’s run by “an anti-mask activist in Orange County.” The website has been the source of misinformation in the past.
The claim about businesses not being able to require proof of vaccinations is just not accurate, but it was shared on Instagram and Twitter and received more than 60,000 views within two days last week.
It was flagged by Facebook users, and our PolitiFact California contributor Sasha Hupka examined it through our social media fact-checking initiative.
On how the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to this false claim
The Fourth Amendment states that Americans have rights against “unreasonable searches and seizures” from the government.
But legal experts pointed out that asking a person for proof of vaccination does not constitute a search or a seizure. Private businesses are not the government entities addressed in the amendment.
On what freedoms businesses do and do not have with their customers
Under the Civil Rights Act, private businesses cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion and national origin or disability.
But aside from that, businesses generally are able to set their own rules on their private property. Even so, legal experts told us that businesses might have to provide reasonable accommodations — at least for those customers who can’t be vaccinated because of a disability or religious belief before they can refuse service.
This might include allowing the customer to enter wearing a mask or offering them a virtual, no-contact version of the service that the business provides.
On the incorrect claim that getting vaccinated may jeopardize your life insurance policy
This post was also flagged by Facebook users, and it’s been circulating online for a while now.
Back in March, the American Council of Life Insurers, a trade group that represents 280 companies, issued a statement calling this claim “entirely false information.”
We found that life insurance companies, trade groups and state regulatory agencies have all said that the COVID-19 vaccine does not play a role in insurance eligibility or payouts. We rated the claim on Facebook as False.
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