Many metro businesses not checking for vaccine status ahead of maskless entry

Vaccine

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Many New Mexico businesses are updating their mask policies to accommodate those who are fully vaccinated, but are they actually questioning people coming in without a mask? Monday, we found out for many, that answer is, ‘no.’

New Mexico’s updated health order says those who are fully vaccinated can choose not to wear a mask indoors or outside. However, many businesses — like Defined Fitness — are not requiring proof of vaccination for maskless entry.

“We are not requiring proof of vaccination,” said Maria Lamar with Defined Fitness. “We’re really leaving it up to our members to manage their own health and their own choices, but we’re going to continue to do our part in providing a safe and clean environment for our members.”

Many big-box stores we went to like Walmart, Costco, and Sam’s Club are allowing maskless shopping for fully-vaccinated customers and are not asking those without a mask whether they’re vaccinated or not. Since last week’s CDC update, others like Target, Chipotle, CVS, and Starbucks are now joining.

Target says, masks will still be “strongly recommended” for guests and team members who aren’t fully vaccinated — but not clearly enforced. Defined Fitness says the masks were a barrier for members during exercise and many are grateful for the change.

“We just recently rolled that policy out as of noon today, so we haven’t had anything but really positive feedback so far from our members,” said Lamar. “We’re going to keep some of those best practices that we put into place very early on in the pandemic, including temperature checks. We’re going to keep our machines socially distanced. We have a touch-free app check-in and, of course, all of our cleaning and sanitizing protocols that we put into place.”

Some City of Albuquerque facilities are also updating their mask policy, including indoor pools, which, just a few weeks ago, asked for masks in all areas except for the pool and quarantine for out-of-state travel. KRQE News 13 also reached out to the New Mexico Restaurant Association to see how they’re advising local places. They’re still getting legal clarification on how to move forward but agree with an honor system approach.

Some are choosing to keep mask policies in place, including stores like Home Depot and Ulta Beauty, as well as all Bernalillo County facilities. Some have expressed concern over HIPAA violations to ask customers about their vaccine status. However, as long as someone isn’t sharing your health records without your permission, an employer or business asking whether you’ve been vaccinated is not a HIPAA violation.

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