New York City residents and visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination for indoor dining, gyms, and shows, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday. “This is a miraculous place, literally filled with wonders,” de Blasio said of the city. “If you’re vaccinated, that’s gonna open up to you, you can open the door. If you’re unvaccinated you will not be able to participate in many things. It’s time for people to see vaccination as necessary to living a good, full, and healthy life.”
Although we are in Nevada and not New York City, you should prepare yourself and your business for requests or mandates from the government concerning proof of vaccine. There have already been recommendations for private businesses to mandate vaccines among their employees. As a private business, you are not prohibited from making such a requirement (assuming that your employees are neither union nor under a contract that would limit that requirement). Whether you deem it appropriate is a decision only your business can make – for now.
Recall that Nevada businesses are entitled to liability protection from Covid-related claims if they follow (and document) directives from federal, state and local agencies. In the event such a directive were to be issued, to ensure liability protection, your business should comply.
As it relates to your customers, you can set legal requirements for receipt of goods and services. However, as it relates to both employees and customers, please be aware that there are risks associated with requiring vaccination (and proof of vaccination). Even though we continue to battle a pandemic, your business still cannot (and should not) discriminate against any employee or customer. Federal and State law prohibits discrimination based upon medical status and characteristics. There is no immunity from liability for discrimination claims.
If you institute policies regarding vaccinations, you should ensure that the policies are equally enforced for all staff and customers. You should consider exceptions as well that are documented and followed. For example, children under 12 years old still cannot receive vaccines; some people for religious or health reasons cannot receive vaccines. For those who cannot receive vaccines for health or religious reasons, you risk a very serious challenge of discrimination. Thus, ensure that your policies are clear, minimally intrusive, and equally enforced.