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What Can Florida Cities and Counties Do to Control COVID spike? New Law Limits Options, Naples Daily News

What Can Florida Cities and Counties Do to Control COVID spike? New Law Limits Options, Naples Daily News

Chase Hattaway answered questions about SB 2006 in in an article published by the Naples Daily News on July 29.

This law “bans businesses and other organizations from mandating that an individual provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery in order to gain access to or services from the business or organization,” Hattaway explained.

“The law applies to businesses, as well as non-profit organizations, schools, and state and local government entities in Florida. It sets forth potentially steep penalties, including a fine of up to $5,000.00 ‘per violation’ imposed by the Florida Department of Health.

Does it have any authority over what local governments can and cannot do?

“The new law applies to local governments,” he said. “A ‘governmental entity’ includes the state, counties, municipalities, districts, authorities, boards and commissions,” he said. “Notably, the new law does not restrict governmental entities (or private entities) from instituting screening protocols consistent with public health organizations like the CDC.”

Can any county or city government in Florida require its employees to get vaccinated and if so, under what law?

“The new law does not restrict public or private employers’ ability to require employees to provide proof of vaccination,” Hattaway said.

“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that federal discrimination laws, which are very similar to Florida’s state discrimination laws, ‘do not prevent employers from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19…’” he said.

“Employers, however, must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance,” he said. “According to the EEOC, reasonable accommodations might include requiring unvaccinated employees to wear face masks, work at a social distance from coworkers or non-employees, work modified shifts, receive periodic tests for COVID-19, or telework. In certain situations, employers can terminate employees who refuse to receive the vaccine, but doing so creates the potential for a discrimination claim.”

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