DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - Illinois is getting closer to Phase 5. That means businesses will have more leeway to work.

As of Thursday, roughly half of Illinois adults are fully vaccinated. Some establishments may not be comfortable letting everyone in unless they've been vaccinated.

Is it a HIPAA violation if a business asks for your vaccination status?

WAND News talked to Charise Carlson with KAI Health Law and Erin Jackson with Jackson LLP. They're health care lawyers based in St. Louis and Chicago.

First off, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a "federal law that requires health care providers to keep patient records private."

That includes hospitals, clinics or one's personal primary health care doctor.

"It does not provide protection for people and their health information that you can't be asked," Carlson said.

Jackson said a HIPAA violation would be a doctor sharing one's health information without their permission. This would not apply to private business. To Jackson, one doesn't sign HIPAA waivers when they want to go out or visit a restaurant. 

"It's because they're not what the government called 'covered entities,'" Jackson explained.

The Jackson LLP lawyer said asking for one's vaccination status has nothing to do with HIPAA.

"When there's a public health emergency going on, the game changes," Jackson added.

"They [businesses] cannot force you to give that information. You can chose whether you give that information or not," Carlson said. "But on the other side of that, is that, you cannot force them to serve you."

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