TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida has issued its first positive to a county it says violated a brand new state legislation banning coronavirus vaccine mandates and for firing 14 staff who did not get the pictures.
The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday issued the $3.5 million positive for Leon County, home to the state capital, saying the municipality violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” legislation, which prohibits companies and governments from requiring folks to indicate proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
“These are people that, presumably, have been serving throughout this whole time and now all of a sudden they’re basically getting kicked to the curb,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis mentioned at a information convention in St. Pete Beach.
Later, the governor tweeted, “No one should lose their jobs because of COVID shots.”
The legislation took impact final month and may end up in a $5,000 positive per violation. It is being challenged in court docket and conflicts with a Biden administration order that firms with greater than 100 staff require their staff to be vaccinated or face weekly testing.
In a press release, Leon County Administrator Vincent Long mentioned the county believes its vaccination requirement is legally justifiable and essential to hold folks secure.
“The governor’s position in this instance unfortunately appears to be less of a public health strategy and more about political strategy,” he mentioned.
Democratic lawmakers from Tallahassee derided the choice to concern a positive, saying native governments ought to have the authority to guard their residents as they see match.
“Unbelievable! We don’t need the state bullying our communities or private businesses who are simply trying to serve the people and get on the other side of this pandemic,” mentioned Florida Sen. Loranne Ausley.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an government order Monday barring any entity, together with personal enterprise, from implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on staff and known as on state lawmakers to go the same ban into legislation.
At the White House on Tuesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki in contrast the actions of the Florida and Texas governors.
“Governor Abbott’s executive order banning mandates and I would also note announcement by Governor DeSantis this morning, essentially, banning the implementation of mandates, fit a familiar pattern that we’ve seen of putting politics ahead of public health,” Psaki mentioned throughout a briefing.
The choice to positive Leon County comes a day after the Orlando Sentinel reported the state of Florida is investigating dozens of native governments, performing arts facilities, the Miami Marlins, a legislation enforcement counter-terrorism unit and a live performance by singer Harry Styles for suspected violations of the legislation.
Around 120 circumstances are being reviewed for violations, based on a public data request from the Orlando Sentinel.
In central Florida, the listing consists of Orange County authorities; the Orange County Convention Center; IntroductionHealth, one of many state’s largest well being care methods; a number of performing arts venues; and the Amway Center, which is home to the Orlando Magic and lately hosted a live performance by Styles whose tour mandated that attendees both be vaccinated or have a damaging COVID-19 check.
“At this point … the courts have not reached the final decision, but the indication is that the Florida law flies in the face of our Florida Constitution and perhaps in the face of common sense,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings instructed the newspaper.
In South Florida, these being investigated by the Florida Department of Health embody the Marlins, the one main sports activities staff on the listing; town of Miramar; the Plantation Police Department; and several other performing arts venues.
Also on the listing, across the state, are a Florida Department of Law Enforcement counter-terrorism unit in Jacksonville; the Gasparilla Music Festival in Tampa; and Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe. Several cruise ship firms additionally made the listing regardless of a federal court docket order that has prevented enforcement of the legislation towards Norwegian Cruise Lines.