HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Along with rolling back several other COVID-19 restrictions, masks will no longer be required for vaccinated people indoors or outdoors starting on Wednesday.
However, wearing masks outdoors will no longer be mandated for anyone.
On May 19, vaccinated people don't need to wear a mask in Connecticut.
Unvaccinated people will still be required to wear a mask inside.
The state is leaving it up to businesses to come up with their own mask mandate policies, which would include whether or not they'd ask people if they're vaccinated.
Channel 3 spoke with legal experts about whether the question violates HIPAA privacy laws.
They simply said, no. Asking someone if they are vaccinated does not violate HIPAA.
"Unless the business is a hospital or medical clinic or other healthcare professional, they’re not bound by HIPAA, so HIPAA does not apply," said Quinnipiac law Prof. John Thomas. "The businesses are within their rights subject to state and federal laws which have not intervened in this context."
However, asking for proof of a vaccine card is where it gets murky.
"It will take a court to decide whether a vaccination record falls under HIPAA guidance or guidelines or if it’s extenuating circumstance for private business," said Dr. Karl Minges of the University of New Haven.
"Everyone has the choice not to answer or go shop somewhere else. This is not a lot different than the 'no shoes, no shirt, no service' adage," said state chief operating officer Josh Geballe.
Masks will still be required in healthcare facilities, public and private transit, childcare centers, and prisons. The state said it wants to continue mask wearing in schools a bit longer as well since most students aren’t vaccinated yet.
As of May 18, there were no penalties in place for refusing to wear a mask if someone is not vaccinated.
Lamont said he's hoping that won't happen; however, they would introduce fines if it becomes a problem.