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State law prevents organizers from requiring vaccination at Fargo MLK Day event

Nonprofits are exempt from the North Dakota law, but not if they sell a product or services

Exterior of the Fargo Theatre
Proof of vaccination can't be required under North Dakota state law at businesses or nonprofits that sell a product or service.
Forum file photo

FARGO — Organizers of this year's Martin Luther King Day celebration at the Fargo Theatre were planning to require COVID-19 vaccination cards to attend Monday's event in-person.

However, Theatre Executive Director Emily Beck said their nonprofit is barred from requiring vaccination cards to enter the facility because they sell a product or service.

"We have to follow the law," Beck said.

Nonprofits that don't sell products or services are exempt from the state law passed by state legislators last spring.

The law also states that businesses can't require vaccination cards or reject customers due to their COVID-19 vaccination status.

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State and local government entities can't require residents to disclose their vaccination or antibody status, either, except for public colleges, prisons, jails, the state hospital and public health units, the law states.

Masks will be highly encouraged at this year's MLK event, however, according to Barry Nelson of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, a co-sponsor of the event.

Beck said the Fargo Theatre is leaving mask requirements up to show producers. Since the theatre, which was hit hard by the pandemic, reopened in May of last year, about half of the shows and events have required masks, she said.

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