On Monday, June 7, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that prohibits any business operating in Texas from requiring what has been referred to as a “vaccine passport.” SB 968 by State Senator Lois Kolkhorst prevents any Texas business from asking customers to show proof of their vaccination status or post-infection recovery status in exchange for receiving services. This law comes after Abbott issued a similar executive order on April 5, 2021 that applied only to state agencies and private organizations that receive state funding. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are exempt and can still require visitors to show proof of vaccination.
In addition to banning private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, SB 968 provides that any business that does require proof of vaccination will not be permitted to engage in state contracts, and some state agencies that regulate different business sectors may screen for compliance with SB 968 in issuing licenses and permits. SB 968 states that it should not be read to prohibit businesses from implementing COVID-19 screening and infection measures in line with state and federal law.
SB 968 went into effect immediately.