DeSantis Signs Bill Protecting Unvaxxed Workers

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed four bills into law, targeting Covid-19 measures like vaccine mandates.

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bills on Thursday protecting unvaccinated workers from federal Covid-19 vaccine mandates, Forbes reports.
  • The four bills had been approved during a three-day special legislative session held by Gov. DeSantis.
  • Florida is the first state to exact financial penalties for businesses that require proof of vaccination against Covid-19 as a condition of employment.

The final bill passed by the legislature bans vaccines for public sector employees, but just requires private companies to adopt more exemptions to any vaccine requirements, such as “pregnancy or anticipated pregnancy,” a prior Covid-19 infection, regular testing or using personal protective equipment.

Any employer that doesn’t comply with the law will be subject to a fine of $10,000 per employee if they have fewer than 100 workers and $50,000 per violation if they have more than 100, and a separate bill makes any investigations into businesses accused of violating the law private until they’re completed.

The bill also strengthens the state’s prohibition on school mask mandates by prohibiting school districts from mandating masks—stating only parents can make that decision—or blocking a student from attending school if they’ve been exposed to Covid-19, as long as they’re asymptomatic and haven’t tested positive.

“We hear so much about these things—mandates, restrictions—tearing people down. Today, we lift people up,” DeSantis said Thursday, calling the state’s vaccine mandate bill “the strongest piece of legislation that’s been enacted in the country” against vaccine requirements.