PUNTA GORDA, Fla.—A Florida Department of Health official says he will fine Orange County if a Florida government entity goes through with mandating employees get vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
On Sept. 24, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he received a letter from Doug Woodleaf, a division manager at the Florida Department of Health, warning the county that fines would be forthcoming for mandating vaccinations of county personnel. The letter says that Demings mandated vaccinations in July and required employees to surrender proof to the Human Resources Department. This carries a $5,000 per individual violation, according to Florida statutes.
“This discriminatory policy infringes upon the fundamental rights and privacies of Floridians and is a direct violation of Section 381.0031, Florida Statutes,” Woodleaf wrote in his letter.
Orange County has mandated that all employees get vaccinated. While Gov. Ron DeSantis has already outlawed vaccine passports, some have said that the law does not specify a prohibition on employers mandating vaccinations, but only curtails the proof requirement.
The law in part says: “A governmental entity … may not require persons to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the governmental entity’s operations in this state.”
Mayor Demings said at the press conference on Monday that a response would be forthcoming after attorneys review Woodleaf’s letter. However, he said it would more than likely end in a lawsuit.
“There’s no doubt, at some point we’re going to end up in litigation regarding this,” Demings said. “I would also tell you that we’re on firm legal ground with this vaccine mandate that we have put in place.”
Demings also described the law cited as “arbitrary.”
This comes after an Alachua appellate court last week ruled that vaccine mandates were unconstitutional, ruling in favor of Gainesville first responders who took the city to court.
Demings said corrective action for not getting vaccinated under that city’s mandate would be “capped” with a written reprimand.
The mayor contends he is doing the right thing by his constituents.
“I want Orange County residents to know that I will continue to fight to protect them during this pandemic,” he said.
September 27, 2021 9:40 pm