Florida to issue $5,000 fines for businesses, schools who ask for proof of COVID-19 vaccine

Florida businesses, government entities and schools will soon face fines of up to $5,000 fines for asking a customer or visitor to show proof they have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

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A bill signed in May by Gov. Ron DeSantis will allow the state to issue fines beginning Sept. 16 if people are asked to show proof they have received a COVID-19 vaccine before being allowed in businesses, schools or government buildings.

Last week the Florida Department of Health established how the fines would be enforced, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.

Businesses, governments and schools will be fined $5,000 “per individual and separate violation,” according to the rule. Those who violate the rule will be issued a notice of the infraction and have a chance to appeal the fine. If the appeal fails, the fine must be paid within 30 days.

Cruise lines will be exempt from the fines because of a federal court ruling that blocked enforcement of the law for the ships. The DeSantis administration is appealing the ruling.

The fines will come at a time that the state ranks first in the nation in COVID-19 hospitalizations per capita. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are around 15,000 patients hospitalized in Florida due to the COVID-19 virus.