Gov. Ron DeSantis issues Leon County $3.5 million fine over ‘vaccine passport’ violations

The Florida Department of Health is now making good on Gov. Ron DeSantis’s threats to punish any local government that mandated vaccines as a condition of employment for its workers.

The state issued Leon County fines totaling $3,570,000 for “its blatant violation of the law relating to the ban of vaccine passports,” according to a news release.

The notice of violation from the DOH said “Leon County Government required 714 employees, or former employees… to provide documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination in order to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the governmental entity’s operations in this state.”

The state added that 14 employees of the county had been terminated “as a result of their refusal or failure to submit documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination.”

“It is unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida law, infringed on current and former employees’ medical privacy, and fired loyal public servants because of their personal health decisions,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement. “We will continue fighting for Floridians’ rights and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law. We’re going to stand up for Floridians’ jobs, stand up for Floridians’ livelihoods, and stand up for freedom.”

The state is issuing fines of $5,000 per violation. The notice of violation states that payment of the fine must be made within 30 days.

The DOH statement said that the City of Gainesville was also warned of potential fines for its employee vaccine mandate. The state said this warning prompted the city to rescind that mandate.

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