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Vaccination deadline looms for Leon County employees

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:29 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Friday is the deadline for 750 Leon County employees to prove they have been vaccinated or lose their job.

Most have already gotten shots, but the state is likely to put the county on notice it is violating state law.

On August 5, the Gainesville City Commission voted to impose vaccine requirements for all city employees.

On Sept. 20, a court issued an injunction against the mandate.

Three days later the commission voted to reconsider the ordinance, effectively removing the mandate, for now.

“Specifically rescinding all previous directions for COVID vaccination policies,” said Gainesville City Commissioner Adrian Hayes Santos. “That includes reasonable alternatives.”

The next day the state told the city it was still subject to being fined.

The move leaves only Leon and Orange counties with employee vaccine mandates.

Both jurisdictions want proof of a vaccine by the end of Friday.

Leon Administrator Vince Long wasn’t available Wednesday, but he did tell us on Sept. 14 most employees were already vaccinated.

“The time for handing out free doughnuts for vaccinations for employees is over,” said Long.

Leon County is likely to soon get a letter like the one sent to the City of Gainesville, telling them they are in violation of state law.

The letter threatens $5,000 fines could be assessed for each employee.

It also asks how many were required to prove their status.

Two Leon employees we spoke with said “it is what it is.”

“I don’t have any problem with it,” said Solomon Hart.

“I don’t know, some of them ain’t going to take the shot,” said Bruce Hall.

In Leon, 30 exemptions have been granted for medical or religious reasons.

If the state follows through with fines, Leon could be on the hook for $3.7 million.

Leon County is predicting it will have to dismiss less than one percent of its workforce after the Friday night deadline passes.

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