A rally supporting the wearing of masks to contain Coronavirus, Pinellas County, Florida (Octavio Jones/Reuters)
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a bill fining businesses and hospitals who require Coronavirus vaccinations or regular testing for employees.
DeSantis hailed the opposition to containment measures — in the state with the third-highest rate of Coronavirus deaths and cases in the US, and the highest this summer — as “the strongest piece of legislation that’s been enacted anywhere in the country”.
Through the Florida Board of Education, the governor has already imposed fines on school districts who require masks in classrooms. Seeking re-election in 2022, and possibly a Presidential run in 2024, he has loudly defied the Biden Administration’s plan for vaccine requirements for workers in government and in large companies.
Florida is the first state with a mandate to punish businesses and hospitals who carry out the vaccination/testing requirements. The Republican-controlled legislature passed the measure largely along party lines.
The legislation threatens businesses with fewer than 100 employees with fines of $10,000 for each perceived infraction. Those with 100 or more employees can be fined $50,000 each time.
The bill also codifies the ban on school mask requirements. Lawmakers approved $5 million to fund legal battles against the Biden Administration.
See also Coronavirus: Florida Strips Federal Funding from Schools With Mask Mandates
Florida has recorded 60,846 deaths and 3,711,612 cases. The state largely escaped the initial wave of Coronavirus, but fatalities soared from summer 2020 as DeSantis supported Donald Trump’s opposition to containment. This summer, as the Delta variant increased risk and severity of the virus, Florida was recording 20% of all US cases.
But DeSantis praised himself and GOP colleagues on Thursday, “Leadership means you get in there and you do what you can to stand by people. And that’s exactly what we did today.”
See also Oklahoma Governor Orders National Guard to Refuse Coronavirus Vaccine Requirements
Republican politicians are now appearing along anti-vaccination activists at speeches and rallies. On Thursday, as many people wore red “Operation Freedom of Choice” T-shirts, some yelled, “The vaccine is the virus.”
DeSantis staged the signing at a car dealership on the outskirts of Brandon, Florida, seen as a nod to the vulgar “Let’s Go, Brandon” chant attacking President Joe Biden since early October. The governor coyly said, “I think Brandon is a great American city.”
See also “Let’s Go Brandon”: How the F-Word Took Over US Politics
Freedom of Choice should prevail. Those who feel that they will benefit from the Covid vaccine should take it. Those that do not feel that they will benefit from the vaccine, should not. Young, healthy people have no reason to think they will benefit from this vaccine. The Death rate in Florida is at approximately 1% and most of those were the very old and the very ill.
We won’t be visiting Florida for a long long time.
We will not miss you
Yeah, 60000 deaths isn’t enough for you…going big huh
Wouldn’t want to live there!
yet another punk professor author skewing the truth to fit his liberal America hating agenda
I love Desantis
Political garbage. Anti-mandate is NOT the same as anti vaccine.the article fails to mention that new Covid cases in Florida is among the lowest in the nation and less than many states with harsh mandates that have not led to better outcomes.
A HUGE THANK YOU!! I believe in Desantis as well !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So with lockdowns and mask mandates. Why is California #1 in cases and deaths? Should report on that smuck.
Another TRUMP Co.. Suc… What in the hell happened to the REP PARTY — They are nothing BUT FACISTS AND NEO NAZIs!!!!!
Or Truth and Fact supporters.. This should be a discussion about scientific fact regarding the pro’s and con’s of the vaccine. It’s also about personal freedoms only provided in this country, until it changes enough where it is now longer a country that protects our liberty and Freedom. For those that take the vaccine great. For those that don’t, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Actually, the unvaccinated should be called murderers when they infect others who then die. But such people are so selfish that they have no shame. Some of them probably think they also have the right to drive drunk of they choose to.
You are misinformed because big tech and big media want you to be! Get ahold of the new book written by Robert F Kennedy, Jr. “The Real Anthony Fauci”! It should change your mind about the so-called vaccine! It is NOT a frik’n vaccine. A real vaccine stops you from getting and spreading a disease. With this crap, you still get the COVID and you still spread the COVID! Wake up people! You are actually 7 times more likely to end up in the hospital if you have allowed them to inject that crap into you! PLEASE open you brain!
Please present a fact rather than pimping disinformation and lies about Coronavirus, its consequences, and vaccines.
DeSantis wants everyone to die. Go for it
Yup, less Republicans causing problems and misinformation!
Oh please. You liberals are so ridiculous! I don’t even try to talk to them anymore as they think they know everything. Well y’all don’t make decisions for me and mine. So sit on it.