Beginning September 16, Florida will impose fines of $5,000 against businesses, schools, agencies and entities that require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 from their users or clients. This was determined by the state Department of Health in a new measure.
The rule exempts health care providers that are licensed, offer certified medical services, or have an active exemption that qualifies them as health care clinics.
Penalized entities may appeal the fine, but the penalties will expire within 30 days.
The regulations come after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed an Executive Order in April banning vaccination passports. Subsequently, in May, DeSantis signed House Bill 2006, which prohibits businesses and schools from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Florida: under constant media scrutiny
In recent months, Florida has drawn media attention for Governor DeSantis’ efforts to avoid restrictions on individual liberty, as well as his pursuit of alternatives to combat the pandemic.
DeSantis was heavily criticized for his decision to ban the mandatory use of facemasks in schools, a move that was halted by a state judge and which the administration will appeal.
Recently, an Associated Press article singled out DeSantis for promoting a highly effective monoclonal antibody treatment in patients with COVID-19 and accused him of benefiting one of his political donors. The governor responded against the media’s “recklessness” and deemed the article “misleading.”
In addition, the Florida Department of Health was forced to complain to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about an error in the way they reported COVID-19 cases in the state, which combined the count of multiple days into one, making it appear to be the worst increase in cases nationwide. The CDC corrected the error after the local entity complained.
This week, the Miami Herald published a headline that misrepresented information about COVID-19 deaths in Florida and generated a wave of misinformation about how the state is combating the ravages of the pandemic.
Florida has already fully vaccinated about 57% of the population, and about 68% have received their first dose, according to the latest report from the local Department of Health. It currently ranks 17th among states with the lowest incidence of death from the virus.