The mask mandate being lifted for those fully vaccinated presents new challenges for employers and business owners.
These new guidelines allow some business owners to evoke an honor system or continue mask wearing for customers and employees.
We went over the Erie County Department of Health for more information on how people are trying to navigate these unclear guidelines.
We spoke with lawyers who said that asking for proof of vaccinations is technically legal.
The mask mandate being lifted for those fully vaccinated has created a gray area.
One local attorney, Eric Purchase, said that there is some confusion about health insurance portability and accountability act or HIPPA laws, which sets limits on who can look at your health information.
“If I say that’s my door way and you may cross that threshold but only if you present me with evidence of vaccination, there’s nothing inherently illegal about that,” said Eric Purchase, Attorney.
Purchase said that HIPPA laws limit health care providers. They do not apply to businesses that are not open to the public, and for the most part they do not apply to employers.
“People get confused because they think HIPPA means I don’t have to ever tell anybody anything about my health, but that’s not really the scope of HIPPA. It’s a much narrower application,” said Purchase.
While many are excited about the mask mandate being lifted, some people say that continued mask wearing could be beneficial.
“I feel like it’s kind of hard to rely on the honor system. You see one person not wearing a mask and you think oh it’s not that big of a deal and it can just lead to more,” said Morgan Ernst, Reacting to No Mask Mandate.
“I still think there’s people that are going to come out with no mask and how do you know if they had a shot or not,” said Loretta Allen, Reacting to No Mask Mandate.
“We know people aren’t always honest and we also need to understand if we want to get through this as quick as possible then we all need to listen to each other,” said Jose Laporte, Reacting to No Mask Mandate.
The health department released a statement that says they do not regulate what authority businesses have in requiring proof of vaccinations.