Arizona Attorney General: Businesses can require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Coronavirus vaccines (file)

Arizona's Attorney General announced on Aug. 20 that businesses within the State of Arizona can require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

A summary of a legal opinion written by Attorney General Mark Brnovich was posted to the Attorney General's website on Friday, amid ongoing debate over vaccine mandates.

"While public health measures may be pursued during emergencies, they cannot trample constitutionally guaranteed liberties," Brnovich wrote. "Arizonans should be free, without coercion, to make medical decisions regarding vaccination that they feel are best for themselves and their families."

Vaccine mandate acceptable for some entities, with exceptions

According to the opinion summary, private businesses in Arizona can, under federal and state law, mandate COVID-19 vaccination for employees, but they must provide reasonable accommodations for those who cannot due to a disability or a "sincerely held religious belief."

The same opinion summary also states that schools, public universities, community colleges, state government entities, and local government entities are banned by state law from requiring their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Some of the laws, however, will take effect on Sept. 29.

Brnovich also wrote that a private business that mandate vaccination for its patrons must also provide reasonable accommodations for those who cannot due to a disability, and cannot discriminate against customers who can't get the vaccine due to a "sincerely held religious belief."

Opinion also touches on vaccine mandates for flying

The same opinion summary also talked about the issue of vaccine mandates for air travellers.

In the summary, Brnovich notes that domestic airlines in the U.S. are primarily governed by federal law, and there are no current federal laws that allows a domestic airline to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or refuse to fly the passenger.

"Under federal regulation, an airline may not refuse a customer based on a communicable disease unless the customer (1) actually has a communicable disease (2) that is a direct threat to other passengers, and (3) cannot obtain a medical certificate setting forth preventative measures," Brnovich wrote. "It will be difficult for an airline to establish these requirements with respect to COVID-19 when airline service has continued throughout the pandemic with masking and ventilation as the primary preventative measures."

LIST: Arizona school districts with mask requirements

LIST: Mask or no mask? Which retailers and restaurants are requiring face coverings

LIST: More than a dozen Arizona venues requiring COVID-19 vaccines, negative tests

Other Coronavirus Stories

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news

For the latest local news, download the FOX 10 News app

Sign up for FOX 10 email alerts, newsletters

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 Vaccination (In Spanish/En Español)