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BBB shows businesses how to enforce vaccine requirements

In this Jan. 10, 2021, file photo, Sarah Gonzalez of New York, a Nurse Practitioner, displays a...
In this Jan. 10, 2021, file photo, Sarah Gonzalez of New York, a Nurse Practitioner, displays a COVID-19 vaccine card at a New York Health and Hospitals vaccine clinic in the Brooklyn borough of New York.(Source: AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 10:25 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - From coming up with vaccination protocols to communicating them effectively, the Better Business Bureau offered tips to business owners and managers looking to require customers to be vaccinated before coming into their shops.

In their recommendations, the agency noted an increasing number of companies are looking at possibly enforcing such a mandate. It cited the rise in the overall number of people who are already vaccinated and the rise of contagious variants as factors in making decision. Implementing a policy, though, will require a plan and some training to deal with enforcing the new rule.

First of all, the BBB points out, owners and managers will need to decide how they are going to verify if someone is vaccinated. Ways for doing so include options ranging from making customers show their vaccination cards or other proof to simply using the honor system and asking them. Businesses that opt for the former will need to spot fake vaccine cards – because not all fake cards use the less common ‘Maderna’ spelling.

Tips to spot them include checking the dates to see if vaccines were offered at the time and if they were spaced out properly. Also, the agency recommends looking at how they were filled out. Fully printed cards could be a clue that something is suspicious since most cards are filled out by hand. The handwriting too could be a giveaway, the BBB states, explaining that it is more likely that different people administered each of the two doses, so the script by each dose listed on the card should likely be different.

The BBB also encourages businesses to clearly communicate their intentions to both customers and staff. For customers, they recommend posting signs around the stores and adding the restrictions to their webpages and social channels for those who check before they come. To avoid accusations of discriminatory policies, it recommends finding alternatives for people who cannot or don’t want to get vaccinated. Those options could include options like curbside pick-ups, online sales, or outdoor dining, depending on the business.

For employees, the agency states extra training should be provided, so they know what they should do or say to help customers comply with the policy. Additionally, guidance should be provided for how to handle potentially violent situations, “especially if you live in a community where attitudes towards the vaccine are not favorable.”

Finally, experts urge business owners to talk to their legal counsel before setting the policy, especially because federal and state guidance consistently shifts and adapts to the COVID-19 situation. It will also ensure that a policy does not violate the customers’ rights.

However, the BBB reminds owners of private businesses that they can refuse service to them for violating the company’s guidelines on health and safety grounds.

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