On September 16, the state law that allows imposing up to 5,000 dollars in fines to businesses or companies that require their customers to be vaccinated against COVID 19 comes into force to serve them.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a crusade against so-called health passports or proof of vaccination. In Florida, by order of the governor, neither local governments nor private businesses can require the public or customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to allow them access or services.
At the beginning of the year, after almost ten months of the pandemic, the state legislature passed SB 2006, which prohibits governments, businesses, and schools from requiring proof of vaccination. Last May, Governor DeSantis signed the law that will take effect on September 16.
Based on this law, the Florida Department of Health will issue fines to those who are requesting proof of vaccination. From this department, it has already been confirmed that the penalties will be 5,000 dollars (the maximum authorized by law) for each individual and each violation of the law verified. In other words, if a business indicates that in order to enter its premises, a client must show that they have been vaccinated, they will be charged 5,000 per client. , Not $ 5,000 in total.
Those who receive these fines will have the possibility to go to court and appeal the case in a system identical to what happens with traffic violations. If the judge confirms the fine, the offender will have 30 days to pay it.
The law leaves the possibility that companies require that they be vaccinated and prove it to their employees. The governor does not agree with this either, claiming that these measures go against individual freedoms. From the other side of the dispute, they allege that private businesses and companies have the right to decide how to run their business under the free market concept.
The case of schools is even more complicated. The vaccines are available for those over 12 years of age. However, between 12 and 15 years, less than half the population has been inoculated. In Florida, schools cannot require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, for decades, Florida public schools have required a complete vaccination schedule to allow a child to access classes.
Right now, Florida is the 19th state in the nation in the immunization rankings. According to the state government itself, 68% of the population eligible to receive the vaccine has at least one dose so far. It is clear that for months there have been no significant restrictions to be inoculated in Florida, so those who have not been vaccinated have not done so by personal decision.
The most famous case in this dispute is that of the cruise companies. The Norwegian Cruise Lines company sued Florida for not allowing them to request proof of vaccination from their passengers and won in the first instance. DeSantis has appealed the ruling, but, for now, cruise ships can request proof of vaccination from those who board one of their ships from a port in Florida - which in turn is the main center of operations for this industry.
The concert organizing company, Live Nation, for the moment maintains its policy of requesting proof of vaccination or negative COVID test to those who come to one of its events. However, suppose the health department begins to impose these fines. In that case, a company like Live Nation, which has about 5,000 people at each event, has to pay millions of dollars in fines.
At the moment, everything seems to indicate that from the 16 the fines will begin to arrive. However, like everything in times of COVID, it can change from one minute to another.