DeSantis threatens cities with fines for vaccination warrants | New policies

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By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday threatened local governments with a fine of $ 5,000 per violation for forcing their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that has invaded hospitals and killed dozens thousands of people across the state.

Local municipalities, such as Orange County and the City of Gainesville, potentially risk millions of dollars in cumulative fines for implementing a requirement that their employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the Republican governor said .

“We’re not going to let people be fired because of a vaccination warrant,” DeSantis said at a press conference outside of Gainesville. choices about their individual health.

Florida was a national epicenter for the spread of the virus this summer, with COVID-19 deaths in Florida accounting for more than 20% of virus-related deaths across the country last week, according to data from Johns University Hopkins.

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During the press conference, DeSantis called on several local officials in central Florida to explain why they did not want to get the vaccine or risk losing their jobs. Several have come up with bogus vaccine conspiracy theories, which medical experts say are safe and very effective.

Many municipalities requiring employees to get vaccinated offer exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

Gainesville spokesperson Shelby Taylor said the city is upholding its decision.

“We are confident that as an employer we retain the right to require vaccination as a condition of employment,” Taylor said in an email.

At a press conference, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, a Democrat, said he believed many of the decisions made by the Republican governor were politically motivated and that the county would “deal with The threat from DeSantis, whether through the courts or otherwise.

“It could be a lot of money, yes, no doubt about it,” Demings said. “Ultimately our goal is to protect the people of our great community, to keep them safe, which is the government’s fundamental role.”

DeSantis is running for re-election next year and is widely seen as a potential candidate to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2024.

Earlier this year, DeSantis signed a law prohibiting proof of vaccination in order to obtain services from companies or governments. He also issued an order preventing local governments from imposing restrictions intended to stop the spread of the virus.

DeSantis ‘remarks on Monday were his latest test of local authorities’ efforts to implement COVID-19 measures. The state’s Department of Education has suspended salaries for members of Alachua and Broward County school boards for defying the governor by implementing mask warrants. A total of 13 school boards are currently ignoring the ban on compulsory masks.

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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