***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

COVID-19 brought unique questions and issues to the legislature this year. House Republicans received hundreds of emails from constituents regarding vaccine passports and mask mandates. After carefully reviewing the concerns, talking with citizens, doctors, nurses, teachers, students, parents and others House Files 847 and 889 were introduced. These two bills clarified that in most cases, your vaccine status is not something that can be required for entry into a building and that the decision to wear a mask lies with the individual and not the government. While Iowans may differ on their level of concern regarding COVID-19, these bills leave it up to individual Iowans to decide if they get vaccinated, if they share that information and if they wear a mask.

Will the state be issuing vaccine passports?

No. House File 889 explicitly prohibits the state and any political subdivisions (counties, cities, etc.) from issuing vaccine passports that identify if a person has or has not had the COVID-19 vaccine. This does not stop doctors and 8 pharmacists from keeping vaccine records, but does prevent official identification from being issued by the government.

Can I be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine?

In most cases, no. Businesses and government entities are prohibited from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entering the premises (Publisher’s note: this is factually inaccurate. Businesses CAN require proof of vaccination, they just wouldn’t be eligible for state grants.) However, there are exceptions for health care facilities, including but not limited to hospitals, inpatient centers, residential care facilities and nursing facilities. They may ask for and even require proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Do I have to wear a mask on private property?

House File 847 prohibits counties and cities from requiring masks on private property. The only time a mask would be required is if the owner of the property requires it. The bill, signed on May 20th leaves the decision to require masks to each individual business and property owner.

When are people required to wear masks?

If a private business requires a mask as a condition of entry. – If a government building requires a mask as a condition of entry. – If a healthcare facility requires a mask as a condition of entry.

Can I be required to wear a mask at work?

Yes, the business can require their employees to wear a mask while working.

Can the company I work for offer incentives for those who are vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes, a business can offer incentives for employees who willingly disclose their vaccination status. As an example, some companies have decided vaccinated employees don’t have to wear masks, while those who are unvaccinated or don’t wish to disclose vaccination information will still be required to wear masks while working.

Author: Press Release