‘We are going to contest that immediately:’ DeSantis plans to fight federal COVID vaccine mandate

Biden’s executive order mandating vaccines for businesses with more than 100 employees ‘fundamentally wrong,’ governor says

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is gearing up for another legal fight with the federal government as President Joe Biden plans to release an executive order that will mandate companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations for workers or submit them to weekly COVID-19 testing.

“We are going to contest that immediately. We think the state of Florida has standing to do it,” DeSantis said. “We also know businesses that we’re going to work with to contest it.”

The governor made his remarks while speaking at the Florida Department of Health in Lee County, touting his campaign of opening monoclonal antibody treatment facilities across the state.

[TRENDING: Here’s what Fla. is doing to solve national shipping delays | Sandwich shop closes Winter Park location | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

DeSantis added that he plans to work with the state’s legislature in an effort to prevent any other mandates from impacting Florida.

“I also think that we have responsibility at the state level, to do whatever we need to do legislatively, to be able to protect Floridians from mandates that could result in them losing their jobs,” he said.

The governor described the move from the Biden administration as an overreach of federal powers.

“It’s also not good policy to unilaterally impose a mandate that you don’t have authority to impose — that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) does not have this authority. There’s no statutory basis for it. This is a total reach that they’re doing,” DeSantis said.

The governor was joined by Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. He was asked to offer a scientific explanation for why these mandates would be detrimental.

“So, you know, it’s interesting — I mean, the answer is that mandates are not a scientific question really. They’re a philosophical question. So, you know, so the piece that I would say that is scientific is that when you make it hard for people to avoid something then they tend not to, you know, they tend not to avoid it. So, yes, you exert pressure and people change behavior, you know, that’s true for many different things,” Ladapo said. “My own personal belief is that it’s absolutely completely wrong to be forcing measures that are related to people’s bodies, their personal decisions, you know, just because you want to achieve some outcome.”

Ladapo was appointed surgeon general on Sept. 21 by DeSantis, replacing Scott Rivkees.

Earlier in the week, the state started issuing fines and warnings to counties and municipalities who were found to be in violation of Florida’s ban on ‘vaccine passports.’ Leon County alone was hit with a $3.5 million fine.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.