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In most anti-discrimination law, the term "public accommodation" comes up a lot, but the definition is vague at best. From what I gather it refers to all public (government-owned) establishments and certain private ones.

So would it be legal for a private shop owner to refuse service to someone because of their race/creed/religion/etc?

2

First, "race/creed/religion/etc" is to broad since hair-style and manner of dress are not federally protected. The specific categories protected under 42 USC 2000a(b) w.r.t. "public accommodations" are race, color, religion, or national origin ("creed" has no legal definition). If you limit the basis to race, color, religion, or national origin, then it does not matter if it is a private business. The specific list of things where such discrimination is prohibited is not totally settled, but "a store" definitely is included in the list of establishments that are covered.

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    '"a store" definitely is included in the list of establishments that are covered': how? Where? All I see is hotels, restaurants, and theaters. – phoog Feb 9 at 5:53

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