Businesses, schools, and government agencies who will ask or require people to show their COVID-19 vaccination proof in Florida will face a $5,000 fine, reports said.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill this year, banning vaccine passports. The penalties will go into effect from Sept. 16, once people are asked to show any proof of their COVID-19 vaccination.
“Promises made, promises kept,” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske said Wednesday.
The bill states that a business entity “…may not require patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or postinfection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business operations in this state.”
Entities who will violate may choose to appeal their penalties, according to the rule, though they will have 30 days to pay once finalized.
“This legislation ensures that legal safeguards are in place so that local governments cannot arbitrarily close our schools or businesses,” the Republican lawmaker said in a statement at the time. “In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision.”
The rule also applies to all government entities as well as school districts.
The bill also states that it does not limit businesses, government entities, or school districts “from instituting screening protocols consistent with authoritative or controlling government-issued guidance to protect public health.”
As per the bill, “the department may impose a fine not to exceed $5,000 per violation.”
The state’s lone statewide elected Democrat Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is also a candidate looking to challenge DeSantis for the governor position next year opposes the collection of fines.
“Governor DeSantis is retaliating against Floridians who are trying to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19,” Fried said in an emailed statement. “This not only goes against common sense — it’s also an insult to the free market principles that he claims to champion.”
COVID-19 cases in Florida have increased rapidly since summer. It is one of the states that had been worst hit by the Delta variant in the U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services has recorded more than 15, 000 hospitalized patients in Florida, a rise from the 1,800 in June.