HOUSTON - Governor Greg Abbott has signed a law that prohibits businesses operating in Texas from requiring vaccine passports or vaccine information.
"Vaccine passports are now prohibited in the Lone Star State," Abbott said during a video posted on social media.
"Texas is open 100% without any restrictions or limitations or requirements," he wrote on Twitter.
On Monday, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 968 into law banning all businesses from verifying a customer’s vaccine status.
Those that don’t comply risk losing state funding for grants or contracts.
Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham, authored the bill and says it ultimately boils down to protecting healthcare privacy.
"Never before in our our nation's history, have we mandated a vaccine that's under emergency authorization use…it does allow for screening for COVID protocols, so you can, you know, require temperature checks, tests, if you want to. It just prohibits the use of a vaccine passport and I want everyone to understand that…I advocate for vaccines," said Kolkhorst.
The news comes as Carnival Cruise Line announced its return to sail from the Port of Galveston next month, as long as all guests on-board are fully vaccinated.
Carnival’s now evaluating the legislation.
In a statement, a spokesperson said, "The law provides exceptions for when a business is implementing COVID protocols in accordance with federal law which is consistent with our plans to comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s guidelines."
SB 968 also bans the Texas Medical Board from limiting or prohibiting a non-elective medical procedure and requires PPE to be stockpiled in case of a public health disaster.