Leon County, which includes the capital of Tallahassee, balked at the $3.5 million fine, claiming its vaccination requirement and subsequent firing of 14 employees were legal and accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of being political.
“The governor’s position in this instance, unfortunately, appears to be less of a public health strategy and more about political strategy,” Leon County Administrator Vincent Long said.
DeSantis said Tuesday, “No one should lose their job because of COVID shots,” while announcing the fine on Twitter. “We must protect the jobs of Floridians and preserve the ability of Floridians to make their own decisions regarding what shots to take.”
The state said the county had violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” law, which prohibits businesses and governments from requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
“These are people that, presumably, have been serving throughout this whole time and now all of a sudden they’re basically getting kicked to the curb,” DeSantis said in a news conference about the fired employees.
The law can result in $5,000 per violation.