Florida Department of Health on Tuesday Leon County fined $3.5 million for requiring its employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying it violated the state’s ban on “vaccine passports”.
why it matters: It is Florida’s latest move to punish local officials who have attempted to enforce masks or vaccine mandates to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Leon County, which is home to the state capital, is said to have violated Florida law by requiring 714 employees to provide documents certifying that they had received the vaccine and by firing 14 employees, who did not comply, according to notice of infringement.
- Local governments in Gainesville and Orange counties had similar requirements, but Gainesville rescinded vaccine mandate last month.
What are they saying: “Every single day in the last 20 months to combat the pandemic, [our] Emergency response and mitigation efforts are informed by expert public health guidance,” Leon County Administrator Vincent Long said in an emailed statement.
- “The governor’s position in this instance unfortunately appears to be less of a public health strategy and more of a political strategy,” he said.
- “Lyon County intends to fully enforce its rights by using any remedy available to settle all arguments about the applicability of the law so that we can continue to focus our full and undivided attention on combating the virus.” “
- “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. Statement.
big picture: Florida has become the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak this summer, with deaths in the state accounting for more than 20% of COVID-related deaths across the US last month, writes Nerdshala Shawna Chen.
go in: DeSantis threatens to release “millions” in fines over local vaccine mandate