Gainesville city officials are challenging the prohibition of vaccine passports as detailed in a new Florida law. The law, SB 2006, prohibits local governments, schools, and businesses from requiring individuals to show proof of the COVID-19 vaccination to receive services or allowed entry.
For Gainesville city employees, the city has issued voluntary proof of vaccination, or vaccine passports, so that individuals who show proof can abide by looser CDC guidelines related to wearing a mask and socially distancing while at work.
The new policy does not require employees to get a vaccine to come to work, but for employees who choose not to disclose vaccination information, they must continue following the CDC guidelines of wearing a mask and socially distancing while working in any city facility. Rossana Passaniti, Gainesville’s public information officer, stated “It is the City’s intention to maintain the vaccination status of Community Builder’s for the sole purpose of administering the COVID work rules,” reported by Florida Politics. The guidelines use the term “community builders” to refer to city employees.
Currently, Florida is under an emergency order that Governor DeSantis filed in early April that is ultimately the building block of SB 2006 which was signed into law on May 3rd. Along with the prohibition of vaccine passports, SB 2006 also gives DeSantis the authority to overrule cities that adopt restrictions deemed too harsh or unnecessary and gives city and county commissions the power to overrule mayors, according to The Florida Capital Star.
DeSantis has publicly criticized businesses and local governments who have issued policies similar to the one in Gainesville by stating, “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society” and that it is something that he thinks has “huge privacy implications” and is “not necessary to do.”
The new law will take effect on July 1st, while the new policy by Gainesville officials is set to take effect five days later on July 6th.
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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to email@example.com.