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CBS Local

Grim Milestone, Florida Surpasses 50,000 Deaths From COVID-19 Since Start Of Pandemic

Florida has reached a grim new milestone, there have been more than 50,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Health officials said Thursday more than one-fourth of those deaths occurred this summer as the state battled a fierce surge in infections fueled by the Delta variant. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tallied 50,811 deaths after adding more than 1,500 COVID-19 deaths provided Thursday by the state’s health department. Those reported deaths occurred over various dates in recent weeks. Florida has the 11th worst per-capita death rate among the 50 states, the CDC says. New Jersey, Mississippi and New York have had the worst, but Florida has risen from the 17th spot in the past two weeks.

Orlando Sentinel

Florida COVID ‘vaccine passport’ fines begin today for businesses, governments

Businesses and governments that require customers to show proof of a coronavirus vaccine will start to face hefty fines on Thursday, but some details about how the new law will work remain unclear. The Florida Department of Health will be responsible for enforcing the $5,000 per violation charge under a law blocking so-called “vaccine passports” signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis this year. The governor’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, and the health department didn’t answer questions from the Orlando Sentinel about how customers can report businesses asking for a vaccine passport and how investigations would work. Pushaw said the law doesn’t prevent businesses from taking other safety precautions against the pandemic, which has killed nearly 50,000 Floridians so far.

CBS News

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatens to fine government agencies "millions" for requiring employee vaccinations

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday that in an effort to "stand up for freedom," the state will be fining any local government that requires their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He reiterated his position that vaccines are "available for all, but mandatory for none" and based his comments on legislation, SB 2006, that he signed in May. Among other things, the legislation bans businesses and local governments in the state from requiring people to prove they've been vaccinated or have recovered from a COVID infection to use their services. "If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition to employment, that violates Florida law and you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation," DeSantis said Monday. "And so if you look at places here in Alachua County, like the city of Gainesville, that's millions and millions of dollars potentially in fines." SB 2006 does not prohibit governments from mandating COVID-19 vaccines.