The administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking Leon County to pay $3.57 million as it imposed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate despite the state’s “vaccine passport” ban, potentially the first in a series of penalties in Florida. Because it goes after businesses and governments for allegedly violating its prohibition on proof of vaccination.
The Florida Department of Health announced Tuesday that the state had fined Leon County, acting “led by Gov. DeSantis,” after the local government asked 714 employees for proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, Including Tallahassee.
Under Florida law, entities seeking proof of COVID-19 vaccination—including businesses, local governments, and educational institutions—are subject to a $5,000 fine per violation.
DeSantis did it before criticized The local government’s vaccine requirement, which eventually resulted in the termination of 14 employees, said the county “cannot separate just those who are serving faithfully” on “personal choice” about their health. .
Leon County officials have defended the mandate as an essential public health measure, Tallahassee Democrat reports, and her attorney has said that the policy complies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the county’s authority to mandate vaccinations.
one in Letter County Administrator Vincent S. Long dated October 6 and published Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health, the state agency said the county had 30 days to pay the fine.
“It is unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida law, violated the medical privacy of current and former employees, and fired loyal public servants because of their personal health decisions,” DeSantis said in a statement Tuesday. “We will continue to fight for the rights of Floridians and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law.”
in an interview with democrat On Tuesday, Long said the county was “taking all legal steps necessary to protect its public health measures” and called DeSantis’ response to the local government’s mandate “unfortunate.” Long said, “We plan to assert our legal rights to support the actions we have taken, which we think are not only completely legally justified but the most responsible thing we do in this case.” can do.”
what to see
Leon County’s sentencing could be the first of many, as Florida’s Department of Health released a list Monday of more than 100 entities “under review” for possible violations of the state’s vaccine passport ban. The list—which includes everyone named in the complaint, including locations that aren’t actually in violation of the policy—includes major companies such as Starbucks and AT&T; concert in Florida by Harry Styles and Maroon 5; and “DoD employees,” suggesting that the state could potentially act against the federal government’s vaccine mandate for the US military. In addition to Leon County, Orange County has also been warned that it could face fines because of its vaccine mandate, although non-vaccinated workers who violate that policy are only subject to a written reprimand, not subject to dismissal. While the city of Gainesville was also initially on the list of entities under review, the Department of Health said Tuesday that it is now following state policy and will not be penalized.
what we don’t know
Will Florida’s vaccine passport ban stand in court? A federal district judge has already struck down the policy once ruling Norwegian Cruise Line may ask for proof of vaccination, writing Florida’s policy for “failing to provide a valid evidence, factual, or legal predicate” as to why its restriction on vaccine proof is required.
Leon County fined DeSantis. comes after warning In September his administration intended to financially penalize any local government enforcing the vaccine mandate. Florida LawMILF Joe DeSantis Put signature on In May, it doesn’t actually restrict the need for vaccination, but only that designated locations may not require people to provide documentation of their shots. The law prohibits businesses from soliciting vaccination proof from customers or guests — but not from employees — and requires documentation of the vaccine to obtain “access, admission, or service” from a local government or educational institution. DeSantis’s confrontation over the vaccine mandate isn’t the only battle the state has waged with local governments over COVID-19 measures, as Lyon County and others have also defied the state’s ban on school mask mandates and the economic ramifications to do so. has been amply punished. The governor has broadly barred local governments from imposing any enforceable COVID-19 restrictions, such as mask orders or business closures.
Leon County is facing a $3.57 million state fine for requiring a vaccine (Tallahassee Democrat)
Cruise Lines, Starbucks, Harry Styles: Here’s Who Florida Could Penalize For Violating Its Vaccine Passport Ban (Businesshala)
Florida moves forward with punishing local governments over vaccine mandate (Businesshala)