Florida governor signs executive order banning vaccine passport use at businesses

‘We will not have COVID vaccines mandated in Florida,’ Gov. Ron DeSantis says

Travelers walk through the Salt Lake City International Airport Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Airlines and others in the travel industry are throwing their support behind vaccine passports to boost pandemic-depressed travel, and authorities in Europe could embrace the idea quickly enough for the peak summer vacation season. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sticking to his promise, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday effectively banning the use of vaccine passports in Florida.

The executive order prevents any Florida government entity from issuing a vaccine passport to prove that a person has been vaccinated for COVID-19. The order also bans businesses in Florida from requiring customers to provide COVID-19 vaccine documentation to gain access or services.

The order says “requiring so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports for taking part in everyday life — such as attending a sporting event, patronizing a restaurant, or going to a movie theater — would create two classes of citizens based on vaccination.”

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According to the governor’s order, vaccines are not mandated in Florida and an individual’s decision to get a vaccine is private health information.

When a person receives their vaccination they already receive a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention card certifying their COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier this week, DeSantis said the emergency executive order would be forthcoming.

[READ: Prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine passports executive order]

“There was never under discussion any mandates to take vaccines. We will not have COVID vaccines mandated in Florida,” DeSantis said Monday. “The flip side of that though with these vaccine passports is it’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”

The executive order prohibiting vaccine passports is temporary and would need to be extended.

DeSantis said he would also work with the Florida legislature to find a more permanent solution to restrict the use of vaccine passports.

Rep. Anthony Sabatini responded to the executive order saying he would work to make it law in Florida.

“This Order is immediate, but MUST be passed into law. As a State Rep., I’ll be fighting to make sure this law passes ASAP!” the Republican state representative tweeted.

Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith responded to the governor’s order pointing to his un-vaccinated status.

DeSantis “is creating even more vaccine hesitancy with this reckless order, AND YET he still hasn’t even been vaccinated,” Smith wrote in a tweet.

DeSantis said earlier this week he plans to get the vaccine soon now that he is eligible.