Source: Veronika Kyrylenko
To the surprise of local authorities who said they only tried to “keep people safe” from a disease that has a 99.8-percent survival rate by forcing them to get experimental gene therapeutics, aka COVID vaccines, and kicking out of work 14 people who did not comply, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) is imposing a $3.57 million fine on Leon County for such actions.
The home of Tallahassee, the Sunshine State’s capital, Leon County has blatantly violated a state law relating to the ban of vaccine passports. Per the department:
On July 28, Leon County Government mandated that its employees provide verification of vaccination to its human resources department no later than October 1. On October 4, Leon County terminated 14 employees for their refusal or failure comply with this requirement. Leon County Government required 700 of their employees to provide this proof in order to keep their jobs.
The statement continues by informing that local governments that considered following Leon County’s lead changed their mind on that issue. For example, the department provides, last week, “after alerting the City of Gainesville of their possible violation of the vaccination passport ban in Florida, the Florida Department of Health received a response indicating the City of Gainesville rescinded its employee vaccine mandate.” This reversal, it is noted, also follows an Eighth Judicial Circuit Court temporary injunction preventing vaccine mandates for city employees.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stated:
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.
State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo added that Floridians have a right to choose for themselves how to best protect their health and the health of their families, and that the Department will continue to impose this law.
Leon County Administrator Vincent Long told CNN in a statement that the vaccine mandate the county tried to impose “was not only completely legally justifiable, but it was a necessary and responsible action to take to keep our employees safe, protect the public, and ensure our readiness as a frontline response organization.”
Long accused Governor DeSantis of pursuing a political agenda instead of a “public health strategy.” Issuing such statements, Long, presumably, is unaware of the accumulated evidence from the past 21 months of the pandemic (if counting from January 2020) that COVID is not as deadly as the media wanted the public to believe; and that there are treatments that, unlike COVID jabs, are actually safe and effective; and that unemployment arguably poses a much greater public-health threat than COVID. Some would argue that the county official may be guilty of the deeds he tries to pin on DeSantis — namely, it is his side that tries to use COVID for political gain and control, while leaders such as DeSantis try to preserve people’s medical freedom.
In a June memo announcing the requirement, Long stated that unvaccinated county workers “pose a significant risk to spread the virus.” That assumption, too, has been proven wrong by real-world data and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which admitted in July that vaccinated people are just as likely to spread the virus as unvaccinated ones.
Long was not the only one who expressed his frustration with the fine. Florida State Senator Loranne Ausley (D) called the move “unbelievable,” and added, “We don’t need the state bullying our communities or private businesses who are simply trying to serve the people and get on the other side of this pandemic.” Forcefully putting people into a “no jab, no job” situation is something Senator Ausley, obviously, does not consider “bullying.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat who is running for governor in 2022, called DeSantis a “wannabe dictator” for “defunding the county governments for protecting their employees from COVID-19.” Fried, much like her comrades, seems to have no problem and does not see any authoritarianism in coercing people into receiving a medical treatment they reject.
On Tuesday, the Leon County Commissioners reportedly maintained the vaccine mandate is legal, and some vowed to challenge the fine. Trying to work out a strategy to counteract the DOH, the commissioners voted to do so in meetings with attorneys. The county has 21 days to petition the fine or appeal it after 30 days.
The Florida DOH is strongly dedicated to uphold the pro-freedom law and is investigating dozens of local governments and businesses, performing arts centers, the Major League Baseball team the Miami Marlins, and other entities for suspected violations, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Currently, there are at least 120 of the cases that are under review of the department.
This past May, Governor DeSantis signed legislation to ban vaccine passports in Florida. Senate Bill 2006, aimed at “stemming the tide of local and state government overreach,” specifically bans governmental entities in Florida from requiring any person, including an employee, to provide proof of vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to government services. The law imposes a $5,000 fine per violation. Enforcement of the law began September 16.