Ask for Covid vaccine proof in Florida? That’ll be a $5,000 fine for businesses, schools, and more


Inquiring about a person’s Covid vaccination status could soon land schools, businesses and government agencies  with a $5,000 fine in Florida which will begin enforcing its vaccine passport ban September 16.

The crackdown was preceded by an emergency order signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in May, which banned the use of vaccine verification systems in the sunshine state.

When signing the bill, DeSantis slammed proof-of-vaccination passes as ‘completely unacceptable,’ and said they would create ‘two classes of citizens.’

Now, the state is taking the ban a step further with hefty enforcement efforts.

It has authorized Florida’s Department of Health to impose fines of up to $5,000 – per offense – to non-compliant businesses, government entities, and schools.

The details around exactly which businesses the fines would apply to was not immediately clear, nor was how the rule will be enforced.

Neither the governor’s office nor the Florida department of health has yet responded to Dailymail.com’s inquiries for clarity. 

Florida’s ban of vaccine passports, such as the one seen above in California, could get costly for non-compliant businesses, government agencies, and educational institutes

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed the bill into law,  has slammed vaccine passes as 'completely unacceptable'

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed the bill into law,  has slammed vaccine passes as ‘completely unacceptable’

Details of the passport verification ban are included in Senate Bill 2006, Florida’s emergency management legislation.

Under the law, businesses are forbidden from asking customers about vaccination status before granting entry into a building.

Government entities are likewise prohibited from requiring proof of vaccination from guests.

Students cannot be obliged to produce vaccination cards in order to attend an educational institution under the legislation.

DeSantis’ tough stance on inquiring minds has caught the ire of Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is campaigning to oust DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

‘Once again, Governor DeSantis is retaliating against Floridians who are trying to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19,’ Fried said in a statement emailed to Dailymail.com. 

‘This time, he’s fining businesses and individuals $5,000 per violation for requiring proof of vaccination.’

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says the government's ban an 'insult'

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says the government’s ban an ‘insult’

Restaurants that require proof of vaccine for entry face $5,000 fines - per offence

Restaurants that require proof of vaccine for entry face $5,000 fines – per offence

‘This not only goes against common sense — it’s also an insult to the free market principles that he claims to champion,’ Fried said.

‘He’s made it abundantly clear that he’s more interested in retaliating against Floridians who are trying to do the right thing than he is in stopping the spread of COVID or supporting local businesses.’

Florida isn’t the state to shun vaccine verification systems.

Numerous states – including Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska, Arkansas – have banned vaccine passports.

Other areas, such as California, have taken a different approach with voluntary vaccine passes that can be used in businesses that require proof-of-inoculation for entry.

New York State officials recently launched the Excelsior digital pass (pictured) which shows proof of vaccination against coronavirus or a negative test

New York State officials recently launched the Excelsior digital pass (pictured) which shows proof of vaccination against coronavirus or a negative test

Then-New York governor Andrew Cuomo launched the Excelsior Pass earlier this year to show someone’s vaccination status when entering large-scale entertainment venues.

In New York City, customers must show proof of vaccination for indoor dining, performances and gyms.

Florida’s vaccine pass disincentives are set to begin as the state experiences its deadliest COVID-19 peak since the start of the pandemic.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data revealed that at least eight days in August produced more daily deaths than during the last peak of the pandemic in August 2020.

The state’s seven-day average in daily deaths reached 244 in August, surpassing its August 2020 high of 227 daily deaths.

More than 45,900 people have died in Florida since the pandemic began, according to the CDC.



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