By PAT RAIA
Gov. Ron DeSantis is vowing to fight a Biden administration plan that would require all public sector and some private-sector employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
“It's all political,” DeSantis said during a Sept. 13 press conference in Newberry. "It's all about using government power to control you."
Last week, President Joe Biden announced a plan intended to raise the number of people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations that would require federal employees with the exception of those who work for the US Postal Service (USPS) to be vaccinated or be subject to weekly COVID-19 tests. In addition, nursing homes receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding must require that staff be vaccinated in order to keep that funding. Finally, Biden said he would ask the US Department of Labor to issue a rule requiring private-sector employers with more than 100 employees to require workers to receive COVID-19 vaccinations or be tested for the virus weekly.
Last month, the City Commission of Gainesville voted to require that all employees of that city be vaccinated or risk termination. Shortly thereafter 200 city employees sued Gainesville on grounds that the vaccination mandate was unconstitutional and violated both state and federal law.
On Sept. 13, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an Amicus brief supporting the employees' suit.
In Hernando County, no such vaccination mandates are in place.
“To date, Hernando County Fire and Emergency Services (HCFES) and Hernando County Government (have) not required COVID-19 vaccinations for our staff or face termination if they (do) not comply,” said Kasey Hyde public information coordinator for Hernando County Government.
The situation is the same at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office (HCSO).
“There are no vaccination mandates at the HCSO at this time,” said Denise Moloney, community/media relations manager – public information officer (PIO) for the agency.
DeSantis, who made his remarks to show support for the Gainesville employees, also said that the vaccine mandate as described by Biden would have wide-reaching negative consequences.
“What about truckers, what about people delivering food – some people are going to lose their jobs over this – it's not right,” he said. “Besides what they are doing is that they are causing a lot of people who do not want to be vaccinated to dig in their heels which is totally counterproductive.”
The Gainesville employees' lawsuit remains pending.
Meanwhile, the US Labor Department rule is also pending.