Tampa country bar Dallas Bull says it can’t ask you about your lack of a mask because of HIPAA

Most fact checks say that’s false.

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Aaron Lewis plays Dallas Bull in Tampa, Florida on February 10, 2017. - Chris Rodriguez
Chris Rodriguez
Aaron Lewis plays Dallas Bull in Tampa, Florida on February 10, 2017.


On Saturday, country singer Josh Turner plays a show at Tampa’s very popular Dallas Bull. If you’re a Turner fan, or a supporter of controversial-for-the-COVID-era venue you probably already have your ticket.

And some of you will probably be happy to know that the venue won’t ask you to wear your mask. In an annoucement on its website, Dallas Bull says "The County Mandates all persons entering indoor facilities must wear a mask. If you have a Medical Condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you are exempt from this order.”

However, the Bull goes on to say that “Due to HIPAA and the 4th Amendment, we cannot legally ask you what your medical condition is. Therefore, if we see you without a mask, we will assume you have a medical condition and we will welcome you inside to support our business.”

Before you giddy up on over to this bastion of freedom, do note that most fact checks and even lawyers say the HIPAA/4A argument doesn’t hold water.

NBC News, which called the argument baseless, pointed out that while HIPAA does protect a person’s private health information, it only covers certain entities like what your provider or insurance company can share—those entities must protect information they already have. “ ...it’s not about asking people about their medical conditions and it doesn’t apply to stores and entertainment establishments anyway,” the network wrote, adding that the 4A argument is even more of a no-brainer.

“This amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure from the government. In fact, all of our Constitutional rights protect us from government intrusion, not the actions of businesses,’ NBC wrote, “Plus, asking a question is not a “search and seizure.”

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay reached out to the Bull to see if it had any comment on its claim, and we’ll update this story if we hear back, but in its disclaimer about the possibility of contracting coronavirus at there, the venue does say it has “preventative measures in place due to the spread of COVID-19.” Those measures include temperature checks and hand sanitizer. “Social distancing is encouraged and expected,” at the venue as well.

CL asked reps from Hillsborough County to comment on the Bull’s HIPAA/4A claim, but they did not have any comment on Josh Turner’s upcoming concert there. Instead, through a spokesperson, Hillsborough County Code Enforcement told us, “Code Enforcement has made several inspections of the Dallas Bull for compliance with the County’s face coverings order and has cited the establishment for a violation of the order.”

See Dallas Bull’s full disclaimer below.

Attention Customers

The County Mandates all persons entering indoor facilites must wear a mask

If you have a Medical Condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you are exempt from this order.

Due to HIPAA and the 4th Amendment, we cannot legally ask you what your medical condition is. Therefore, if we see you without a mask, we will assume you have a medical condtion and we will welcome you inside to support our business.

Josh Turner. Saturday, March 13, 10 p.m. $35-$45. Dallas Bull, Tampa. Tickets available on ovationtix.com

See a list of Tampa Bay’s “Safe & Sound” live music venues here.

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About The Authors

Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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