Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has banned private businesses from refusing service to customers on the basis of vaccination status, the Washington Examiner reported.
It’s the latest effort by Republicans to block an authoritarian “vaccine passport” system being pushed mostly by Democrats and big corporations. “Texas is open 100%, and we want to make sure that you have the freedom to go where you want without limits,” Abbott said Monday.
Abbott bans requiring vax passports
The law is an expansion of an executive order from Abbott in April banning vaccine passports in government.
That order was criticized by some as insufficient compared to that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who didn’t hesitate to ban private businesses from using vaccine passports. Abbott had previously said that he is against interference with the “free market.”
Now, businesses in Texas are prohibited from requiring customers “to provide any documentation certifying the customer ’s COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery” to receive service, according to the new law.
The ban leaves an exception to allow businesses to use “COVID-19 screening and infection control protocols in accordance with state and federal law to protect public health,” however.
But it penalizes businesses that violate the ban with the loss of state contracts and grants, and empowers government to make compliance necessary for a business to get a license or permit to operate.
Carnival Cruise to ignore Abbott’s ban
While many COVID restrictions are ending across the U.S., many Americans are concerned about discrimination against unvaccinated people and a loss of privacy and freedom with a new “papers, please” system. The pressure is on from government and business leaders.
With about 50% of adults currently vaccinated, the feds have laid out different sets of rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people as an incentive, as “vaccine passports” begin to gain traction in liberal states like New York, Hawaii and Oregon.
Many colleges are requiring vaccines for their students, and vaccine mandates are catching on in airlines, cruise lines, and other industries. The trend has led to a standoff in Florida and Texas, where cruise lines are battling with Abbott and DeSantis to require the passports.
Carnival Cruise announced that they plan to ignore Abbott’s ban and follow CDC guidelines instead, exploiting the exception mentioned previously as a loophole.
It looks like Abbott’s ban could use some revision, but this is a good step in the right direction.