HELENA, Mont. — Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte issued an executive order banning the development or use of vaccine passports in Montana.
Vaccine passports are documents used to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine.
The move by Gianforte on Tuesday comes as vaccine passports have been portrayed by Republicans across the country as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.
Gianforte said in a statement that he encourages all Montana residents to receive the vaccine but that it is "entirely voluntary."
Vaccine passports have been implemented in New York but there is no federal vaccine passport program.
The following was sent out by the Office of Gov. Gianforte.
Governor Greg Gianforte today issued an executive order prohibiting the state-sponsored development and required use of so-called vaccine passports in Montana.
“I strongly encourage Montanans to get a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, which is our best path to protect our family and friends and get back to a more normal life,” Governor Gianforte said. “Receiving one is entirely voluntary and will not be mandated by the State of Montana, nor compelled through vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other compulsory means. We are committed to protecting individual liberty and personal privacy.”
The executive order prohibits the State of Montana from requiring a vaccine to access state services or facilities; producing, issuing, or funding vaccine passports; and sharing an individual’s vaccination status with any person, company, or governmental entity for purposes of a vaccine passport program.
The executive order also prohibits Montana businesses from requiring patrons and customers to provide documentation of their vaccination status to gain access to, entry upon, or service.
View the governor’s Executive Order.