State investigating Central Florida businesses, venues for requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccine

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The state health department said it is investigating more than a dozen Central Florida businesses and venues for requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and fines could be coming.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who is named personally on the list of those being investigated, said he’s prepared for whatever comes next.

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“If we receive info that we will be fined given the directives we have put in place here, we will end up in litigation over it,” he said.

The people and places on the list could be facing millions of dollars in fines. The state said the fines would be $5,000 dollars per person impacted.

READ: Dozens of Orange County firefighters file lawsuit over vaccine mandate

Demings said he feels the county is well within its rights to require the vaccine for employees, because they won’t be fired over it.

Other businesses and venues on the list that are being investigated include the Amway Center, Plaza Live, the Dr. Phillips Center, and Orange County itself.

READ: Orange County to discipline unvaccinated employees over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Demings said he has not been contacted to be told he’s being fined.

“Until that occurs, we’re status quo,” he said.

“From the very beginning, our legal team looked at the law, and the directives that we put in place were to comply with the law,” he said.

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The Orange County attorney has also been following other similar cases through the court system, and said most are not holding up under scrutiny.

“The indication is the Florida law flies in the face of our Florida constitution and perhaps in the face of common sense,” Demings said.

READ: Orange County seeing increase in employee vaccination rate, mayor says

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.