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DeSantis Bans Vaccine Passports In Florida By Executive Order

Patch logo Patch 4/2/2021 Tiffany Razzano
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday that bans vaccine passports or any proof of vaccination in Florida. © Scott Anderson/Patch Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday that bans vaccine passports or any proof of vaccination in Florida.

FLORIDA — In recent weeks, Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a vocal critic of vaccine passports, documentation that shows whether an individual has received the coronavirus vaccine.

Now, he’s taken that criticism one step further by signing an executive order banning vaccine passports in Florida Friday. The ban went into effect immediately.

Vaccination credentials would “reduce individual freedom” and “harm patient privacy,” according to Executive Order No. 21-81.

“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 would create two classes of citizens based on vaccination, and…it is necessary to protect the fundamental rights and privacies of Floridians and the free flow of commerce within the state,” the executive order said.

Government entities in Florida are prohibited from issuing vaccine passports or similar documentation, the governor’s order said. It also prohibits these entities from sharing or certifying an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination record to third parties.

The order also prohibits businesses from requiring patrons and customers to provide documentation of vaccination or recovery from the virus “to gain access to, entry upon or service from the business.” Compliance with the order is required for businesses to be eligible for state-funded grants or contracts.

Since DeSantis has been so vocal about banning vaccine passports, the executive order isn’t unexpected.

“I think it's a bad idea, so that will not happen, and so folks should get vaccinated while they want to...but in no case will the state be asking you to show proof of vaccinations,” the governor said during a March 18 news conference. “And I don't think private companies should be doing that either, so we're going to ... see what we can do to make sure we're protecting Floridians."

Royal Caribbean, which is headquartered in Miami, announced in March that the company will offer western Caribbean cruises from the Bahamas and Bermuda this summer while cruising from the United States is still on hold.

COVID-19 vaccines will be required for all adult guests boarding Royal Caribbean cruise ships, the cruise line said. Negative coronavirus tests are required for guests 18 and younger before boarding.

Meanwhile, some sports teams, including the Miami Heat in South Florida, are planning special sections for fully vaccinated fans, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

And the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, scheduled May 20-23, requires that attendees show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within three days of the event.

Sen. Marco Rubio is on the fence about vaccine passports, WESH reported.

"You know on the one hand you have property rights and that is, private business rights to decide the conditions by which people can come in or not come in," he said. "On the flip side of it of course there are concerns about civil liberties."

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