After vowing earlier this week to issue an executive order banning “vaccine passports” in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis delivered on this promise on Friday.
“Today I issued an executive order prohibiting the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports. The Legislature is working on making permanent these protections for Floridians and I look forward to signing them into law soon,” the governor wrote on Twitter.
Today I issued an executive order prohibiting the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports. The Legislature is working on making permanent these protections for Floridians and I look forward to signing them into law soon. Read my EO here – https://t.co/6QwLsLWEWm
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 2, 2021
The executive order, titled “Prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine Passports,” contained six sections:
- No Florida government entity, or its subdivisions, agents, or assigns, shall be permitted to issue vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status to a third party, or otherwise publish or share any individual’s COVID-19 vaccination record or similar health information.
- Businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business.
- All executive agencies under my direction shall work to ensure businesses comply with this order. Any provision of Florida Statutes is hereby suspended solely to the extent it restricts a Florida agency from requiring compliance with this order as a condition for a license, permit, or other state authorization necessary for conducting business in Florida.
- All businesses must comply with this order to be eligible for grants or contracts funded through state revenue.
- The requirements in this order do not otherwise restrict businesses from instituting COVID-19 screening protocols in accordance with state and federal law to protect public health, and nothing herein shall be construed to interfere with individuals’ rights to access their own personal health information under federal law.
- This order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for the duration of Executive Order 20-52, as extended.
Prior to defining these instructions, the order mades several additional statements which add further context and reasoning.
DeSantis noted that “the State of Florida is leading the effort to distribute the vaccine to elderly and vulnerable populations of the State and has successfully provided vaccines to nearly 3.5 million seniors,” that “many Floridians have not yet had the opportunity to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination, some have infection-acquired immunity, and others may be unable to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination due to health, religious, or other reasons,” and that “Florida seeks to ensure that every Floridian who desires a COVID-19 vaccine can obtain one, but such vaccines will not be mandated.”
DeSantis also stated that “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.”
Last month, New York became the first state in the country to implement a COVID-19 “vaccine passport.” Conversely, DeSantis said that “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 participate in normal society.”
“You want to go to a movie theater, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game, a theme park? No. So we’re not supportive of that,” he added.