CAPE CORAL, Fla. – At Bubba’s Roadhouse and Saloon in Cape Coral, 2020 has looked a lot different than other years. 

“We have our staff in masks. We’re sanitizing everything after every use,” owner Jay Johnson said. “We’ve got people walking around doing door handles, toilet handles, wiping our menus every time. Wiping the condiments. We’re going above and beyond.” 

Johnson said he won’t require his customers to wear masks. Once the COVID-19 vaccine is widespread, he won’t require them to show proof they got that, either. 

“I wouldn’t do that. I think that’s an overreach,” Johnson said. “That’s an overreach on a business to ask someone for their medical records to come in.”

In fact, when NBC2 asked about a dozen business owners in downtown Fort Myers, none of them said they’d require customers to show proof they got the vaccine before entering.

Now, Florida senator Joe Gruters wants to make sure businesses cannot legally make that kind of requirement.

He proposed a bill this week that would prohibit businesses from discriminating against customers based on their vaccination status.

Johnson said he agrees with the idea behind the legislation.

“There’s gonna be people that won’t get vaccines for religious reasons, for medical reasons of their own, and that’s not a place that I wanna be,” he said. “I don’t wanna get into what’s your religion. I don’t wanna get into what’s your medical history – were you allowed to have it, not allowed to have it. And worst of all, I don’t want to have to judge it.” 

But Johnson did take issue with the legislation as a whole. He believes, ultimately, businesses should be able to make decisions for themselves. 

“I think there’s a lot of government overreach already. And I think, on their own, most businesses are gonna do the right thing. And those that don’t aren’t gonna follow the laws anyway,” Johnson said. 

The bill has only just been introduced. It’s unclear if it will get enough traction to become law.


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