Q&A – Can Employers And Schools Mandate Vaccines In Florida?

Today’s entry: Does Nova’s vaccine mandate even matter after DeSantis’s order? I thought all mandatory Covid vaccines were banned. 

Bottom Line: It’s a great question. Only hours after Nova Southeastern University become the first in Florida to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine to attend, Governor DeSantis signed an executive order banning vaccine passports. Section One states, "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".

Section two states, "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".

Under this executive order, it would appear Nova Southeastern, nor any business or organization operating in Florida has any legal right to demand proof of vaccination in order to receive services. In Nova’s case, that’s classroom education. In the case of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival that would mean attendance at their event. I’ve singled out that festival because it’s the only other mandate I’ve seen issued. Organizers of the event said you’d not only have to provide proof of a vaccine to attend the event, but you’d also have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of the day you attend the event. We reached out to the Festival and they sent this comment, "As of right now not ready to discuss. The Festival is aware of the executive order and working with its legal team on next steps."

There’s not been a legal challenge issued to Governor DeSantis’s executive order as of now, however, if a lawsuit is brought it’d be up to the courts to determine if the order would stand. Notably, the executive authority has consistently been upheld by the courts during the pandemic. This has included the mask mandates issued by South Florida’s governments. Given medical privacy rights are federally protected. It would seem unlikely the courts would suddenly rule against executive authority and potentially federal law in the process. 

As of today, the law in Florida suggests no entity has a right to demand you obtain a vaccine and show proof of it.

Photo by: Getty Images North America

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