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FLORIDA (LifeSiteNews) – Florida residents and tourists to the Sunshine State do not need to worry about businesses and public entities asking them about their COVID-19 vaccination status thanks to a new law that goes into effect on September 16.
Businesses in Florida “may not require patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business operations in this state,” according to Senate Bill 2006.
Neither can government entities or educational institutions require proof that someone has taken the COVID shot. There is a $5,000 fine for violations of the law.
The law does not prohibit places from putting in place other health screening protocols. It also protects the rights of Floridians to participate in the economy, no matter their personal decision about the COVID jab, according to Governor Ron DeSantis’s spokeswoman.
“Floridians have the right to medical privacy. Individual vaccination records are private health information, which should not be shared by mandate,” Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told LifeSiteNews via email. “Vaccine passports reduce individual freedom and harm patient privacy. Allowing businesses and educational institutions to require vaccine passports as a condition of entry or service would entrench an unfair, two-tiered society.”
“The decision to get a COVID vaccine should be up to individuals, who have the power to make the right choices for themselves and their families,” Pushaw said.
She pushed back on critics of the governor, including agriculture commissioner and 2022 Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried.
“Governor DeSantis is retaliating against Floridians who are trying to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19,” Fried claimed to the Orlando Sentinel.
Nothing in the law prevents Floridians from taking coronavirus vaccines, wearing masks, or locking themselves inside their homes.
“Governor DeSantis is making decisions based on empirical evidence, upholding the rule of law, and protecting all Floridians’ individual rights,” Pushaw said.
“Defending individual rights from unjustified overreach, whether by government or business, is a legitimate use of state executive power.”
DeSantis is currently in a legal battle to stop the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from requiring inoculation onboard cruise ships and to prevent cruise lines from checking passengers’ vaccine status. “From here on out a federal bureau will be on thin legal and constitutional ice if and when it attempts to exercise such sweeping authority that is not explicitly delineated by law,” the governor said in July.
New York City and San Francisco have implemented “vaccine passport” systems requiring people to show proof they’ve taken coronavirus injections in order to fully participate in the economy.
“’If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things. That’s the point we’re trying to get across,” outgoing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in August.
“This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders, and if you’re vaccinated, all that’s going to open up to you. You’ll have the key, you can open the door,” the mayor said.
The passport system is called the “Key to NYC Pass” and enforcement begins September 13.
Fellow Democratic East Coast mayor Kim Janey of Boston disagrees with de Blasio’s approach.
“During slavery, post-slavery, as recent as you know what immigrant population has to go through here,” Janey said, “we want to make sure that we are not doing anything that would further create a barrier for residents of Boston or disproportionally impact BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] communities.”
While “vaccine passport” rules require full inoculation – one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna’s mRNA injection – the possibility of booster shoots being introduced more widely in the U.S. will likely leave some double-jabbed individuals out in the cold as well.
Israel, Croatia, and Austria have told double-jabbed citizens that their inoculation passes will not be considered valid if they do not take a third booster shot.