- In April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSanti’s government banned the introduction of vaccine passports.
- On Tuesday, the state fined Leon County more than $ 3.5 million for violating the policy.
- Leon County fired 14 employees who showed no evidence of vaccination by Oct. 1.
A Florida county has been fined more than $ 3.5 million by the state Department of Health for violating Governor Ron DeSantis’ order banning vaccine passports.
In a press release, the Florida Department of Health said it offered Leon County $ 3,570,000 for “714 cases of violations of Florida’s ban on vaccine passports,” and the ultimate firing of 14 people who refused or failed to comply with a mandate to submit proof of vaccination.
“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 the press release. “We will continue to fight for Florida’s rights, and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law. We will stand up for Floridian’s jobs, stand up for Floridian’s livelihoods, and stand up for freedom.”
According to the health department, Leon County in July required their staff to provide evidence of vaccination to human resources by October 1st. Three days after the October 4 deadline, the county fired 14 people for failing to comply with their demands.
In April, DeSantis signed a decree banning government agencies and local businesses from issuing “vaccine passports.”
—Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 12, 2021
The three state legislators representing Leon County have criticized the fine, WCTV reported.
“We can only move past this pandemic by ensuring that all eligible people are vaccinated to protect the Floridians,” said Representative Ramon Alexander. “This is an oversimplification of the state government and the governor has gone too far. “
Leon County did not respond to insiders’ request for comment, but county administrator Vince Long told WCTV that “there is a real disagreement about the applicability of the statute and the rule, and the county will enforce its rights using any remedies available by law if it.” is required . “
At a news conference Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said DeSantis announced that fining the county along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning vaccine mandates “fit a well-known pattern we have seen of putting public health policy ahead.”
“Over 700,000 U.S. lives have been lost due to COVID-19, including more than 56,000 in Florida and over 68,000 in Texas. And every leader should be focused on supporting life-saving efforts and ending the pandemic,” Psaki said. “Why would you take life-saving steps that make it harder to save lives – across the country or in any state?”
This is not the first time DeSantis has sought to impose measures banning COVID-19 policies. Last month, a judge ruled that the school districts in the state could impose mask mandates, stating that DeSantis did not have the authority to issue an injunction prohibiting them from doing so.