Rantz: Inslee pushes businesses to deny service to COVID unvaccinated
Governor Jay Inslee is encouraging businesses to deny service based on a customer’s private medical decisions. But his office says Inslee is not “exercising an authority when he says that.” So, businesses shouldn’t count on Inslee’s support if they end up getting sued for going too far.
After declaring the state in the middle of a fourth wave that would bring us back to near-shutdown, miraculously, the state has recovered. Now, thankfully, Washington can reopen by June 30.
But Inslee says our freedoms are contingent on our willingness to get a vaccine, even if we don’t want or need it. In fact, even if our doctor says not to get the vaccine, Inslee says we may be denied service at a business until we do.
While Inslee pretends he’s not instituting vaccine passports officially, he’s actually doing just that. He’s just doing it with a wink and a nod. Soon you may have to literally show your medical records to a stranger to buy a coffee or shop for groceries. Businesses should follow in the footsteps of Costco, Walmart, and Trader Joe’s and trust customers.
Inslee encourages medical discrimination
Inslee insists he won’t require a vaccine passport at the state level. This is, of course, a lie. They already exist, and the state is imposing them.
You are required to prove vaccination status to attend most public colleges in Washington. Showing paperwork qualifies as a vaccine passport. And if you do not get the vaccine or get granted an exception, you will be denied a public education. Staff? Though they are at an increased risk of complications due to COVID, they are not required to get a vaccine. Only the healthy, 18-21-year-olds face that requirement.
But more troublesome is that Inslee is actively telling businesses to deny service to customers based on one’s willingness to either get a vaccine or show private medical records to a stranger.
“They are legally entitled to do so… so if a grocery store or a restaurant wants to check people’s status, they have the legal right to do so,” Inslee said at a press conference last week.
But this can quickly turn into illegal discrimination if accommodations aren’t provided.
Can’t get vaccine? Religious objection? Privacy concerns? Inslee doesn’t care.
Inslee dismisses all concerns over vaccine passports as he encourages businesses to ask for your medical papers. He even seems to want 100% vaccinated-only events like Mariners games, modeled after a Jennifer Lopez concert in Los Angeles he recently learned about.
But some people cannot get vaccines for medical reasons. The CDC warns against vaccination on the three current medications for anyone who is allergic to its ingredients. If you recently had COVID and were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, the Mayo Clinic says you should wait 90 days before getting a vaccine. And while experts believe the vaccine is likely safe for pregnant women, there is minimal data. Pregnant women may not want a vaccine at this point.
There are also Washingtonians with deeply held religious beliefs who object to vaccines, particularly Johnson and Johnson, which used cloned cells from a baby aborted in the 1980s, per Bloomberg Law.
Beyond that, you may not want to show the clerk at the grocery store or Sounders game your medical information. It’s meant to be private.
Is this legal? Businesses shouldn’t look to Inslee for help
Inslee’s office, through spokesperson Mike Faulk (a former journalist, he is quick to remind anyone without asking), first balked at the advice the governor offered businesses. It’s just their interpretation of the law.
Faulk cautioned via email that “we cannot provide legal advice to private businesses, and I suspect that there are different legal opinions out there as these issues are being discussed across the country.” He indicated, however, that “a business can refuse service to people based on legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.”
Businesses should note that if you get into any legal hot water for discrimination on policies you adopt based on Inslee’s guidance, his office won’t back you.
“It’s the governor’s office’s interpretation of the law,” Faulk told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “He’s not exercising an authority when he says that. If you’re looking for a more robust interpretation of the laws on the books, you should talk to the legal counsel for businesses that are requiring it.”
Nothing shows one’s confidence in a leader than an admission that said leader isn’t truly confident in the advice he’s offering.
Businesses should trust customers as much as we trust them
When we enter businesses, we extend a tremendous amount of trust. We expect the people making our food to wash their hands after they use the restroom. We hope that every safety precaution is taking place when we can’t see it. There is a lot of trust that we offer to the business. We are due the same in return.
Everyone who wants a vaccine can get one. I recommend people get a vaccine in consultation with their doctor. It’s a personal choice — one that I made. But if you don’t want to make it, that’s on the individual. If you’re vaccinated, and someone else is not, they’re at risk. You? Not so much. So stop acting as if the vaccine isn’t protecting you.
I also won’t give my money to a business that requires me to hand over my personal medical history unless you’re willing to hand over employee documents. Are all your employees vaccinated? Show us that paperwork before we show you ours. And why stop there? Bring out the blacklight, and let’s make sure you properly washed your hands after using the bathroom.
Despite being open about my vaccine status, I’m not handing any medical records to anyone. Having the right to ask doesn’t mean you should. It’s a very real slippery slope — one that I’m unwilling to go down.
Did you like this report and opinion? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook.