DeSantis Threatens Cities With $5,000 Fines For Requiring Employee Vaccines
DeSantis said "it is wrong" for municipalities, including the city of Tampa, to require employees to get vaccinated.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened local governments with $5,000 fines per violation for requiring their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that has overrun hospitals across the state.
In a Monday news conference in Alachua County, DeSantis said local municipalities potentially face millions of dollars in fines for implementing a requirement that their employees get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Gainesville and Orange County officials say they still are going ahead with the vaccine requirements.
Speaking later at a news conference in Tampa, DeSantis said it's wrong that first responders and other government employees could get fired for not getting the vaccine.
"People that have put in 10, 15, 20 years, and now they're just going to get cast aside by some onerous mandate? That is wrong, and so we let it be known today, we're going to be enforcing Florida law against that," DeSantis said.
That law bans private businesses — and government agencies — from requiring customers to prove they're vaccinated.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced last month that about 4,700 city employees have until Sept. 30 to get the vaccine or show a medical or religious reason why they can't. Those who do not would have to get tested every week and wear an N-95 mask.
Florida has been a national epicenter for the virus’s spread this summer, with COVID-19 deaths in Florida accounting for more than 20% of the virus-related deaths across the country last week.
Information from WUSF staff was used in this report.