Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Monday that he was introducing new penalties for cities and counties that require public employees to be vaccinated, even as COVID-19 cases rise dramatically in the state.
“I don’t support mandates at all,” the governor said at a news conference.
“If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition of employment, that violates Florida law,” DeSantis said, and the audience cheered. “You will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation.”
He noted that this could add up to millions of dollars in penalties for local governments.
The governor also had a worker speak at the news conference, who peddled lies about the vaccine and was not corrected.
All COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. — whether from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — have been extensively studied and found to be safe and effective, particularly when it comes to preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
Reported COVID-19 cases in Florida have skyrocketed in recent months. The average number of daily cases across the state jumped from around 1,500 in June to over 15,000 this month.
As the highly contagious delta variant spreads and cases rise across the country, the vast majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among people who aren’t vaccinated.