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Leon Official Says County's Employee Vaccine Mandate Will Remain Even As DeSantis Threatens Fines

A man in a blue button up shirt stands behind a lectern
Patrick Sternad
WFSU Public Media
Leon County Administrator Vince Long says the county will keep its employee vaccine mandate in place.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state will fight vaccine mandates imposed by employers including private businesses and local governments. During a press conference Monday, DeSantis said requiring that workers get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs runs afoul of state law.

“If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition of employment that violates Florida law, and you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation," DeSantis said.

DeSantis says some cities and counties could rack up millions of dollars in fines.

Leon County has given its employees until October 1 to get vaccinated or get a medical or religious exemption approved. After that, unvaccinated employees could lose their jobs.

County Administrator Vince Long issued a statement following the governor's press conference. In it, he said the county's vaccine requirement will remain in place.

"Unfortunately, and despite the tireless efforts of public health professionals, political rhetoric continues to dangerously exacerbate the fear and confusion about vaccinations. In a public health emergency, clarity of information remains critical. This is why it is necessary that I clarify that vaccinations as a condition of employment in Leon County is legal and will remain in effect. We will continue to act responsibly to ensure our operational readiness to respond to the needs of our community and to keep our employees safe," Long said.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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