COVID-19 vaccine requirement could mean “millions and millions” in fines


ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican state officials denounced President Joe Biden’s latest vaccine requirements and threatened to fine any company “millions and millions of dollars” if asked customers proof of vaccination.

DeSantis doubled his position on Monday at a press conference in Alachua County. He and other Republican elected officials criticized Biden’s vaccination mandate that requires employers of more than 100 workers to demand vaccines. The new mandate also applies to all federal employees of the executive, which does not include Congress.

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DeSantis signed an executive order earlier this year banning so-called vaccine passports or requiring proof of vaccination, and Florida lawmakers passed a new law that also includes a ban on vaccine passports. This rule will come into effect on September 16 and would be enforced by the Ministry of Health.

“It prevented private companies from requiring proof of vaccination just to do normal things like going to the movies or going to restaurants,” DeSantis said.

The governor said the decree also applied to state government agencies.

“You will be fined $ 5,000 for each violation and so if you look at places here in Alachua County, like the town of Gainesville, I mean it’s millions and millions of dollars potentially. in fines, Orange County (see) much, much more than that, ”DeSantis said.

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According to a spokesperson for the governor, the law would impose a fine of $ 5,000 for violating the ban on the vaccination passport. This means that for each person who was not vaccinated and was subsequently required to do so, the county, city or employer would be fined $ 5,000.

Several City of Gainsville and Orange County employees spoke out at the media event on Monday, saying they risked being fired for their personal choice not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Maria Bernard, who identified herself as an Orange County firefighter, said she and her husband both had COVID and were relying on “natural immunity” instead of the vaccine.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings imposed a mandatory vaccine requirement for all county employees on July 28. The current deadline is September 30.

“We want to keep our jobs. We want to stay productive. We want to serve our citizens of Orange County. We want to continue supporting our families, being able to feed our children, maintain our health care, avoid foreclosure on our home and secure our retirement, ”said Bernard. “No one should be forced to choose between their beliefs and bodily autonomy or their job and risk losing everything they have worked for in their life to have no way to survive.”

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Orange County has more than 7,561 employees. As of Monday, 4,704 were fully vaccinated and 779 employees received their first injection, according to the Orange County government. If the county were fined for all employees, the county would face a fine of over $ 37 million.

It is not clear, however, how the state would know if someone received the vaccine because they were mandated to do so or if they chose to be vaccinated.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis has said he supports the right to choose firefighters and paramedics as they have faced COVID on the front lines throughout the pandemic.

“Look, I got my shot, but I won’t support any fucking warrant,” Patronis said to a round of applause and cheers.

Last week, the Florida Department of Health reported an average of 14,321 new infections per day. Florida reported 353 on Friday new deaths linked to the virus in the past week, but the cumulative number of deaths of 46,772 actually shows that there were 2,448 new deaths added to the state’s total, according to data from the DOH covid news.

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