DeSantis defies Biden plans by threatening $5k fines for cities that enforce vaccine mandates on public employees

By Kelsie Sandoval
AP

In the latest legal battle about the Covid-19 pandemic, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says government agencies that will require vaccine mandates will be fined $5,000.

He said the fine would be imposed “if a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition to employment that violates Florida law”.

The move comes in the wake of President Joe Biden’s announcement about vaccine mandates last week.

Mr Biden said employers with 100 or more workers will have to require vaccinations or get tested on a weekly basis. And health facility workers who received Medicare or Medicaid face the same decision, too.

Contractors who work with the government will have to be fully vaccinated and not be able to opt out by testing.

"The bottom line — we’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers," Mr Biden said in a White House speech.

Not everyone was quick to embrace this new mandate, including Mr DeSantis. “What are you gonna do, are you gonna pin down some 80-year-old nursing home resident and force them to take it?” he asked.

Last week, appeal courts reinstated Mr DeSantis’s ban on mask mandates within schools, but the ruling is still pending. As a result, the state can withhold school board members’ salaries where districts are imposing mask mandates.

“No surprise here – the 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children. I will continue to fight for parents’ rights,” Mr DeSantis said in a tweet.

His threat to fine cities comes as Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths are on the rise in Florida.


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