Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning COVID-19 vaccine passports and also announced an executive order that suspends all local pandemic emergency mandates effective July 1.
DeSantis signed Senate Bill 2006, passed by Florida state lawmakers last month granting DeSantis the ability to override local emergency orders. The bill also includes a ban on vaccine passports that would levy fines of $5,000 per violation.
“I’m going to sign the bill. It’s effective July 1. I’ll also sign an executive order pursuant to that bill invalidating all remaining local emergency COVID orders effective on July 1,” the Republican governor said in a news conference in St. Petersburg on Monday. “But then, to bridge the gap between then and now, I’m going to suspend, under my executive power, the local emergency orders as it relates to COVID.”
Describing his executive orders as the “evidence-based thing to do,” DeSantis said that proponents of lockdowns “really are saying you don’t believe in the vaccines, you don’t believe in the data, you don’t believe in the science.” He added: “We’ve embraced the vaccines. We’ve embraced the science on it.”
The order suspending local emergency mandates only affects governments, not businesses.
“In terms of what a supermarket or some of them choose to do, a Disney theme park, this does not deal with that one way or another,” DeSantis said. “It’s simply emergency orders and emergency penalties on individual businesses.”
DeSantis has been a vocal opponent of so-called vaccine passports, saying they would create two classes of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
“You have a right to participate in society, go to a restaurant, movie, a ballgame, all these things without having to divulge this type of information,” DeSantis said on Monday.
CS/CS/SB 2006: Emergency Management PDF
Emergency Management; Authorizing the Legislative Budget Commission to convene to transfer certain funds to the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund; requiring that the state comprehensive emergency management plan provide for certain public health emergency communications and include the Department of Health’s public health emergency plan; redefining the term “essentials” to include personal protective equipment used during public health emergencies; specifying that a political subdivision has the burden of proving the proper exercise of its police power in the issuance of certain emergency orders, etc.florida-SB-2006