With the growing list of businesses requiring COVID vaccine proof or no entry, there is a post circulating on social media claiming that businesses cannot legally require customers to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or deny entry based on vaccination status. The notice cites the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Title III of the U.S. Civil Rights Act.
“Businesses cannot legally ask for proof of vaccination,” reads the post by The Healthy American. “This is a violation of your privacy and property rights as protected by State and Federal Law… Any person who violates your rights can be held liable under Title 18 USC Section 242, depravation or rights. Penalty for this crime can include life in prison or death penalty.”
“None of that is accurate, but nonetheless, the false information has been spreading,” states a newsletter by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce sent yesterday. “Asking a person for proof of vaccination does not constitute a search or a seizure, and private businesses aren’t government entities addressed in the amendment. A business can ask for the information to be voluntarily disclosed. If it isn’t, a business has the right to refuse entry, according to Michele Goodwin, a professor of law at UC Irvine.”
To be clear: “Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States,” states the United States Department of Justice. “For the purpose of Section 242, acts under ‘color of law’ include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim. The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
Also to be clear: “If death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”
Anti-vaxxers continue to single out the Harlowe restaurant with a fifth night of protesting last night. They are against the restaurant’s policy requesting vaccine proof, or no service. Meanwhile, it’s a growing list of bars and restaurants in West Hollywood that are now requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result before entering their businesses.
Local Public Health Officials are reminding community members that it is important to get tested for COVID-19 infection for people who develop symptoms, even if fully vaccinated. Testing is also recommended for unvaccinated people who have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection or who has had a potential exposure. COVID-19 testing remains widely available across the county. Residents should first call their healthcare provider for a COVID-19 test. For people who cannot get a test through a healthcare provider, free testing is available; please visit https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
Los Angeles County coordinates a COVID-19 West Hollywood testing site at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The testing site is open each week from Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is adjacent to the Community Center in the South Parking Lot. Tests are being administered by Fulgent Genetics. Although walk-ins are welcome, it is strongly encouraged that those interested in getting a test pre-register for an appointment at la.fulgentgenetics.com. People getting tests should bring ID and confirmation number to the appointment.
Health officials urge all people to get vaccinated. Residents ages 12 and older with internet access are urged to use www.VaccinateLACounty.com to sign up for a vaccination appointment. For people without access to a computer or the Internet, or people with disabilities, an LA County call center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to help schedule appointments at (833) 540-0473.
Additional information, such as links to West Hollywood-area drug store chains offering vaccinations, is available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus in the Vaccines and Testing Information section.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks or more after they have received the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks or more after they have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.