FAQs | Masks + COVID-19 Vaccination

FAQs | Masks + COVID-19 Vaccination

Governor Northam lifted Virginia’s indoor mask mandate to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The updates to Virginia's mask policy are reflected in Executive Order 79, which terminated the sector-specific business restrictions in Executive Order 72.

The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks or physically distance in most non-healthcare workplace settings. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue mask wearing and physical distancing in all settings.

DPOR offers the following to provide assistance for informational purposes only. DPOR cannot provide legal advice or interpretation, or assist with requests for application of the law to specific facts. Businesses should seek private legal counsel or other professional advice on their particular facts and circumstances.

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1. CAN FULLY VACCINATED EMPLOYEES IN NON-HEALTHCARE WORKPLACE SETTINGS STOP WEARING MASKS?

Labor law issues involving employer-employee relationships are governed and enforced in Virginia by the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI), not DPOR. DOLI oversees the Final Permanent Standard (FPS) that addresses occupational exposure to COVID-19.

According to FAQs from DOLI, fully vaccinated non-healthcare employees can safely resume indoor and outdoor workplace duties without wearing a face covering or physically distancing with certain exceptions as noted. See Section 40, FAQ 54.

DPOR is unable to provide guidance or interpretation about how the CDC guidance or Final Permanent Standard affect employers or employees. Any additional questions must be directed to DOLI at https://www.doli.virginia.gov or (804) 371-2327.


2. CAN I ASK EMPLOYEES OR PATRONS TO WEAR MASKS?

Yes.


3. CAN I ASK EMPLOYEES IF THEY ARE VACCINATED?

DPOR is not aware of any Virginia law, regulation, or standard prohibiting employers from asking employees if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine and are fully vaccinated.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to healthcare-related “covered entities” and “business associates,” and in most cases does not apply to employers. Accordingly, the patient privacy protections contained in HIPAA do not apply to employers who ask employees if they are vaccinated.

For more information on HIPAA visit: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/employers-health-information-workplace/index.html.


4. DO I HAVE TO ASK EMPLOYEES OR PATRONS IF THEY ARE VACCINATED?

No. Nothing in the Executive Order states that businesses have to ask employees or patrons if they are vaccinated.


5. CAN I ASK PATRONS IF THEY ARE VACCINATED?

DPOR is not aware of any Virginia law, regulation, or standard prohibiting private businesses from asking patrons if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine and are fully vaccinated.

Regulations of the Board for Barbers and Cosmetology require licensees to take sufficient measures to prevent transmission of communicable or infectious diseases.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to healthcare-related “covered entities” and “business associates.” In most cases, the patient privacy protections contained in HIPAA do not apply to private businesses in retail, fitness, personal care, or entertainment sectors asking patrons if they are vaccinated.

For more information on HIPAA visit: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/faq/index.html.


6. CAN I REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO PROVIDE PROOF OF VACCINATION?

DPOR is not aware of any Virginia law, regulation, or standard prohibiting employers from requiring employees to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicates that employers may require employees to show proof of full vaccination; however, it cautions that follow-up questions might elicit protected information about a disability.

For more information visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws


7. CAN I REQUIRE PATRONS TO PROVIDE PROOF OF VACCINATION?

DPOR is not aware of any Virginia law, regulation, or standard prohibiting private businesses from requiring patrons to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.

Regulations of the Board for Barbers and Cosmetology require licensees to take sufficient measures to prevent transmission of communicable or infectious diseases.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to healthcare-related “covered entities” and “business associates.” In most cases, the patient privacy protections contained in HIPAA do not apply to private businesses in retail, fitness, personal care, or entertainment sectors asking patrons to share vaccination information.

For more information on HIPAA visit: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/faq/index.html.


8. CAN I DECLINE SERVICE TO UNMASKED INDIVIDUALS?

Yes. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments.

 

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REV 06/01/2021