- A new law will impose fines on Florida businesses and hospitals that require COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the ban on vaccine mandates into law on Thursday, effective immediately.
- DeSantis called it “the strongest piece of legislation that’s been enacted anywhere in the country.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Thursday that will force all Florida employers and hospitals to pay fines should they choose to enforce the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to a press release.
The new law delineates a multitude of exemptions for vaccines that private employers must allow, including “health or religious concerns; pregnancy or anticipated future pregnancy; and past recovery from COVID-19.”
The new legislation, effective immediately, states that medium to large businesses who enforce the mandate will be fined $US50,000 ($AU68,828) per employee violation. Smaller businesses with less than 100 employees will receive a $US10,000 ($AU13,766) fine per violation.
It requires private employers to pay for COVID-19 testing or personal protective equipment for employees who choose to opt out of vaccination.
The legislation prohibits schools from enforcing face masks, requiring the COVID-19 vaccine, and quarantining “healthy students.” It also allows Florida students and parents to sue school districts for enforcing any of the newly banned rules.
“I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs and today we made that the law,” DeSantis said in the press release. “Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida.”
He added: “I’m thankful to the Florida Legislature for joining me in standing up for freedom.”
DeSantis signed the bill at a car dealership near Brandon, Florida, where he called it “the strongest piece of legislation that’s been enacted anywhere in the country,” according to CNN.
The crowd chanted the phrase, “Let’s go, Brandon,” a new anti-Biden chant adopted by the right to mean “f— Joe Biden.”
President Joe Biden’s controversial vaccine mandate is currently on hold following a decision by a Federal Court of Appeals, CNN reported Wednesday.
“This is not about freedom or personal choice,” Biden said in September when he unveiled his plan to stop the Delta variant, which included a vaccine mandate. “It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.”
The White House and the office of Ron DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.