PHOENIX — Want to fly, work, or attend that long-awaited concert? It could soon depend on whether you’ve gotten a COVID vaccine. However, some lawmakers in Arizona want to take power away from businesses to refuse service if someone isn’t vaccinated. A bill heading to the state House floor takes aim at the issue.
“If a mandate gets passed that says you cannot refuse business to folks that are not wearing a mask or are not vaccinated, I don’t think businesses are going to be happy to comply with that,” said Employment Attorney Joshua Black.
Black is an employment attorney and expects the law to be challenged, if passed. Framed as protection for employees and patrons, the Republican-backed bill would allow employees to refuse to get the COVID vaccine even if required by their employer. It would also prohibit businesses like large venues or airlines from requiring proof of vaccination for entry.
“I’m somebody that has a respect for an individual to choose whether or not they want to inject something into their body,” said State Rep Bret Roberts (R) LD11.
Representative Roberts is sponsoring the bill. The subject is making headlines after President Biden’s administration said it’s working on creating standards for people to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I don’t think it’s right for a business to basically have the capability of refusing service to individuals and having them participate in commerce and things of that nature simply because they choose not to do so,” said Roberts.
Right now, the public seems to be split on the issue.
“If they make it mandatory, like I mean masks are mandatory and we have to wear it so if they did make it mandatory and we had to get a vaccine to travel that’s what we have to do, have to follow the rules,” said one woman.
“No one's asking me if I got a flu shot to go get a McDouble at McDonald's, so, I don’t see why it would be any different with COVID,” said another man.
Other state reps like Tony Navarrete say the same people who are backing this bill to take away business rights, also supported giving them the rights to refusing service to people in the LGBTQ community. It all seems to point to a long debate ahead and one that may turn partisan quickly.
“It seems more politically motivated than actually concerned about the liberty of either employees or companies,” said Black.