Florida Gov. DeSantis threatens heavy fines for local governments that impose vaccine mandates

·2 min read

WASHINGTON — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is threatening to impose hefty fines on city and county governments that require their employees be vaccinated against Covid.

DeSantis said Monday that his state would fine the local governments $5,000 for each employee that is forced to get a vaccine in order to continue working.

The threat stems from a law DeSantis signed in May that bans “governmental entities in Florida from requiring proof of vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from their operations," his office said. "Additionally, the law imposes a $5,000 fine per violation for any entity, including government entities, that asks to see proof of vaccination in Florida.”

The state is preparing to begin enforcing the law on Thursday.

DeSantis said Monday that requirements in the city of Gainesville and Orange and Leon counties that workers must be vaccinated or risk getting fired “should alarm Floridians, and raises important questions.”

“This is political, it’s about using government power to control,” he said. “We’re going to protect these jobs, we’re going to protect livelihoods and we’re going to protect families.”

The governor warned that these mandates will result in “millions and millions of dollars potentially in fines.”

DeSantis’ administration has already been battling school mask mandates. A Florida appeals court late last week allowed the state to continue implementing an order banning mask requirements in schools while the issue is under review.

Last Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that the federal government would mandate Covid vaccines for federal workers and contractors. He also announced an emergency rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to require that their workforce is fully vaccinated or that unvaccinated workers produce a negative Covid test at least once a week.