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VERIFY: Yes, private businesses can ask you if you are vaccinated or not

With the CDC lifting most mask guidelines, viewers are asking if a private business can ask if you are vaccinated or not

MACON, Ga. — Many of you are also wondering if a private business can ask if you are vaccinated. 13WMAZ spoke to Attorney David Anderson and went to The United States Department of Health and Human Services website to verify.

"It is a complicated question and that the law is changing and there are executive orders being issued by the day," Attorney David Anderson with James Bates Brannan Groover LLP said. 

Anderson has helped businesses when dealing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to information from his biography. Anderson says EEOC guidance tells employers they need to keep their employees and customers safe from the coronavirus.  

"The answer is generally yes, a restaurant or someplace like Lowe's is a private business and they have the right to refuse business to anyone," Anderson said. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service shows covered entities like doctors and clinics can release health information for "preventing or controlling disease" to public health authorities. Those public authorities are places like state and local health districts. So the answer is yes, but it is important to add more context. 

"If a person says no, that really needs to be handled by a case-by-case basis, and we recommend these businesses seek legal council," Anderson said. 

Anderson says as guidance from the state government changes the answer could be no in the future. For now, he says businesses should create a plan for different scenarios just in case a customer challenges them. 

"If a customer refuses, a restaurant, especially the waiting staff, does not need to be in the position to explain or interpret the law to its customers," Anderson said.