Florida officials are willing to fine cities and counties $5,000 for any employee who must receive a COVID vaccine, Governor Ron DeSantis announced at a news conference Monday.
He said vaccine mandates violate state law, citing a bill he signed in May that “prohibits Florida government agencies from requiring proof of vaccination or recovery from infection to access, access or service from their operations,” the president said. until MSNBC.
The law also imposes a $5,000 fine per violation for “any entity, including government agencies, requesting proof of vaccination in Florida.”
DeSantis said at a news conference, “If a government agency in the state of Florida enforces a vaccine as a condition of employment, it is against Florida law and you will be fined $5,000 for each violation.”
He said the fines could lead to millions of dollars for the state, and Florida state officials are ready to begin enforcing the law on Thursday.
But county and city officials say it is their responsibility to protect residents with these mandates, saying they will fight back against the fines.
At a news conference on Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the state would begin imposing fines on municipalities that require their employees to be vaccinated at $5,000 per employee.
DeSantis first signed a law in May that made vaccination mandates illegal in the state of Florida, but several municipalities have since imposed vaccine mandates on their employees.
In August, Miami Mayor Daniella Lavine-Cava announced that all county employees would be required to show proof of their vaccine or undergo weekly testing.
The county has seen the highest number of cases in the state, with more than 58,300 new cases in the past month, according to data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which has tracked COVID cases across the country since the start of the pandemic.
“Our community has endured too much,” Levine-Cava said at the time. ‘By getting vaccinated we can avoid further pain, we can avoid losing even more of our neighbours, colleagues and friends.
“We can avoid what is really preventable.”
And in Orange County, officials are requiring all employees to be partially vaccinated by Sept. 30 and fully vaccinated by Oct. 31.
The city of Gainesville, in Alachua County, is also demanding that its employees be vaccinated against the virus. The county has seen more than 5,700 cases in the past 28 days, according to Johns Hopkins data.
The Ministry of Education has already capped the salaries of school board members in Alachua and Broward counties for defying the government by implementing mask mandates.
In total, 13 school boards are currently ignoring the mask ban, according to News 4 Jax.
A Florida court of appeals last week allowed the state to continue to implement an order banning mask requirements in schools while the matter is being reviewed.
Meanwhile, the state has seen nearly 3.5 million cases and nearly 50,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
According to state data, more than 100,000 new cases were reported across Florida between September 3 and September 9. Ministry of Health, with a positivity rate of 13.5 percent.
COVID deaths in the state accounted for more than 20 percent of virus-related deaths in the United States last week, News 4 Jax reports.
About 69 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and 57 percent have been fully vaccinated.
Between September 3 and September 9, more than 100,000 new cases were reported across Florida with a 13.5 percent positivity rate
But at Monday’s press conference, DeSantis said the counties and cities that require workers to vaccinate will face a $5,000 fine for each worker, calling it an effort to “stand up for freedom.”
“We’re going to protect these jobs, we’re going to protect their livelihoods, and we’re going to protect families,” he said. “We stand before the men and women who serve us. We’re going to protect jobs in Florida. We don’t have people fired because of a vaccine mandate.’
“You’re not just putting aside people who have served faithfully on this issue, on what is basically a personal choice about their personal health,” he added, pointing out that vaccines in the state “are available to everyone, for no one obliges’.
“This is politics,” he said of the mandates. “It’s about using government power to control.”
DeSantis also said that many police, firefighters and other first responders have “had covid” and “those who have recovered have very strong immunity.”
However, the Centers for Disease Control says people should be vaccinated whether or not they’ve already had COVID-19 because “research has not shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19.” 19.’
One study found that unvaccinated people who had COVID are more than twice as likely as fully vaccinated people to get COVID again, CBS News reports.
The press conference also featured a slew of Gainesville and Alachua County employees who feared they would lose their jobs for not being vaccinated.
One of those employees said, “It’s not about the vaccine, it’s about mandatory vaccination.”
“No one should tell you what to put in your body,” he said. “I choose what goes into my body. I eat burgers and fries, of course, but that’s my choice.’
The Alachua County official also falsely claimed that the vaccine changes the body’s RNA. Instead, the mRNA vaccines, such as those produced by Pfizer and Moderna, teach the body how to make a spike protein similar to what’s on top of the coronavirus, so if it’s detected, the immune system can recognize it and attack it. .
Others argued, “It’s about our freedom and liberty,” and one woman used the pro-choice slogan “My body, my choice” to defend her decision not to get vaccinated.
Willie Webb, 20, received an injection of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at St. Thomas University in Miami on Aug. 20. Governor said vaccine is ‘available to everyone, not required for anyone’
Nurse Helene Leger gives FIorida International University student Vanessa Claude her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 injection on Aug. 24 at an on-campus vaccination site
A woman receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination event in Key Biscayne on Aug. 24
The press conference comes as the city of Gainesville is being sued by 200 employees who allege vaccine mandates violate state law.
Shelby Taylor, a spokesperson for the city, said it stands by his decision.
“We believe that as an employer we retain the right to require vaccination as a condition of employment,” she said in an emailed statement to News 4 Jax.
And at a news conference, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he believed many of the decisions the governor made were politically motivated and that the county would “handle” the threat from DeSantis, possibly through the courts.
“It could be a lot of money, yes, no doubt about it,” he said. “Ultimately, our goal is to protect the people in our larger community to keep them safe, which is a fundamental role of government.”
President Joe Biden announced last week that the federal government would require all employees and federal contractors to be vaccinated
The governor concluded his press conference by targeting President Joe Biden, who announced last Thursday that the federal government would mandate COVID vaccines for federal employees and contractors.
He also announced an emergency rule that requires all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their staff is fully vaccinated or that unvaccinated employees take a negative COVID test at least once a week.
“The fight with the Biden mandate is a real serious fight to defend the constitutional system,” DeSantis said. “He’s so contemptuous of anyone who disagrees with him. Do you hear how he talks about governors like they need to be pushed aside, out of the way?
“I know the Founding Fathers created a system,” he said. “We are the United States of America, and they have created a system where the president can’t boss people around.”
He claimed that governors like him are designed to push back against the outreach of government, saying Biden would be “so dismissive and act as if anyone standing up for jobs in their state should somehow get out of the way.” go, it shows his arrogance and it also shows that he is out of touch with the people of this country.’
DeSantis is running for reelection next year and is widely seen as a potential candidate to become the Republican nominee for president in 2024.