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Vaccine mandate deadline looms for Leon Co. employees

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 6:35 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The clock is ticking for some Leon County employees to keep their jobs.

County workers have until 11:59 tonight to submit proof of vaccination or face termination. As of this morning, 15 of the county’s 630 full-time employees had not yet complied with the vaccine mandate.

Earlier this week, those who had not yet complied received a letter which states that if they fail to comply with the county’s vaccine mandate, they will be terminated at the end of the workday on October 1.

About a month ago, County Administrator Vince Long told WCTV that roughly 50% of county employees were vaccinated. Now, that number is up to 98 percent.

The Governor said the mandate violates state law, but Long said last month Leon County’s mandate is legal and will remain in effect.

“We believe that requiring our employees as a condition of employment to become vaccinated is legal,” Long said. “It’s permissible. The EEOC agrees with us, the DOJ agrees with us, federal district courts agree with us, and we also believe that it’s not inconsistent with Florida law.”

In a statement today, a spokesperson for the Governor called Leon County’s mandate unacceptable, saying it infringes on employees’ medical privacy and personal health decisions.

Governor DeSantis has threatened a $5,000 fine per violation. With 630 employees impacted in Leon County, that would amount to more than $3 million in fines.

This week, the city of Gainesville revoked its vaccine requirement for city employees after the Florida Department of Health alerted the city that it was in violation of state law.

On Friday, the Department of Health sent a letter to Leon County ordering them to “rescind its unlawful vaccine mandate” by midnight and “refrain from terminating any employees who decline to produce proof of vaccination.” You can read the full letter below:

Letter to Leon County from the Florida DOH.
Letter to Leon County from the Florida DOH.(Florida Department of Health)

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