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GAINESVILLE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that the city of Gainesville has withdrawn a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers after pressure from his administration and a court ruling against the policy last month.
“We are not going to allow our first responders and government employees, many of whom have been on the front lines for over a year and a half, to be cast aside by local politicians’ mandates,” DeSantis said in a press release. “This reversal by the City of Gainesville is a victory for liberty.”
According to the press release, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) received a letter from Gainesville last week informing the department that city commissioners “voided” a recent vaccination mandate for all public employees.
The FDOH had written to Gainesville mayor Lauren Poe days earlier, threatening to enforce a law signed by DeSantis in May that bans government entities, schools, and businesses from demanding COVID vaccination status. The law, S.B. 2006, allows up to $5,000 in fines per violation.
Gainesville told the health department in response that there are now “zero employees who are subject to a City COVID-19 employer vaccination requirement.”
“Please be advised that on September 23, 2021, the City Commission of the City of Gainesville took action to rescind their August 5th action related to COVID-19,” city manager Lee Feldman wrote, adding that the vaccine rules “have been voided.”
Florida workers should not lose their jobs based on COVID shots. The City of Gainesville rescinded its mandate, which threatened to kill many jobs.
We must protect the jobs of hard-working Floridians from destructive mandates imposed by local politicians.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 1, 2021
The day before the FDOH notice, a Florida judge temporarily halted Gainesville’s vaccine mandate following a lawsuit brought by city workers and backed by the DeSantis administration.
“The city failed to put on any evidence that the Vaccine Mandate serves a compelling state interest or that the Vaccine Mandate was the least restrictive means to accomplish that interest,” Circuit Judge Monica Brasington ruled September 22. Gainesville, in fact, “did not put on any evidence, at all, at the injunction hearing,” she noted.
The City Commission of Gainesville voted to rescind the rule the next day.
More than 200 city workers, including police officers, firefighters, and other first responders, sued to block the mandate, with the backing of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican who filed a brief in support of the workers in September.
PETITION UPDATE (9/27/21) -
United has agreed to put off its threatened COVID vaccine mandate for another 2 weeks, as proceedings came to a screeching halt in federal court last Friday.
Mark Paoletta, a partner at Schaerr Jaffe representing the plaintiffs, was quoted by Breitbart as saying:
"Now everyone can follow the court’s decision to take the time and care needed to carefully consider the legitimate claims our clients have as we seek a solution that allows United to take necessary steps to combat COVID-19 while respecting the civil rights of valuable employees who have sincere religious objections or medical conditions that make them unable to take the vaccine."
While this appears to be a lessening of tensions and possibly a step in the right direction, we must wait till the case resumes on October 15 to see if United will scrap their draconian mandate.
In the meantime, we must continue to apply pressure on United.
So, please continue to SIGN and SHARE this pledge to boycott the airline giant for threatening to impose harsh measures - including forced unpaid leave - in order to coerce employees with religious or medical objections to the vaccine to take the jab.
Thank you for continuing to SIGN and SHARE!
United Airlines is accused of not respecting the religious and medical COVID vaccine exemptions which the company offered to employees who cannot, in good conscience or health, take the vaccine.
2,000 employees of the industry giant are represented in two court cases which have been initiated to stop United from laying-off or indefinitely furloughing workers who have sought COVID vaccine exemptions.
Please SIGN this BOYCOTT of United and send the airline a stong message that you will not support the implementation of these draconian measures.
Many United Airlines employees have sincerely held religious objections to taking the COVID vaccines, while other employees have been told by their doctors not to take the vaccine due to health concerns.
The religious and medical rights of these employees must be respected, and, will hopefully be vindicated by the courts.
But, airlines are for-profit businesses, and apart from the legal incentives, there must also be financial incentives for them to respect their employees' religious and medical rights, and, indeed, the same rights of all Americans.
And, that's why we are calling for a boycott.
The CEO of United Airlines, Scott Kirby, and HR Manager, Kate Gebo, need to understand that the American public will not support businesses who force their employees or customers to violate their religious beliefs or their doctors' recommendations.
Of course, this is totally unnecessary.
United could simply make reasonable accommodations for their employees who are claiming either a religious or medical exemption.
But, until United adopts that policy, we are asking you to consider boycotting the "unfriendly skies" and find another airline for your travel needs. By doing so, you will meaningfully stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these aggrieved United employees.
Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition to boycott United Airlines over the company's failure to respect religious and medical COVID vaccine exemptions for its employees.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'Pilots seek restraining order against United Airlines’ ‘unlawful, life-threatening, vaccine-mandate’' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pilots-seek-restraining-order-against-united-airlines-unlawful-life-threatening-vaccine-mandate/
'United Airlines will put employees with religious, medical COVID vaccine exemptions on unpaid leave' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/739949/
**Photo Credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
‘Millions of dollars’ in fines
Last month, Gov. DeSantis announced that Florida would move to penalize violations of the state’s ban on COVID-19 vaccine requirements, such as those in Gainesville, with “millions of dollars” in fines.
“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,” the governor declared at a press conference near Gainesville. “If you look at places here in Alachua County, like the city of Gainesville, I mean, that’s millions and millions of dollars potentially in fines.”
“We will certainly move to impose the fines as the law requires when we see people that are denied access,” he said.
The DeSantis administration continues to fight local vaccine mandates in multiple counties, including Leon County, where city officials confirmed this weekend that they fired 14 employees who refused to disclose their vaccination status by Friday, in violation of S.B. 2006.
The FDOH had warned the county last week that it must “immediately rescind” the coercive vaccine policy and “refrain from terminating any employees who decline to produce proof of vaccination.”
“Fines may be assessed based on each employee who was required to submit proof of vaccination as a condition of continued employment,” wrote Doug Woodlief, FDOH division director for Emergency Preparedness and Community Support. Those fines could cost Leon County over $3.5 million, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Orange County also faces potential fines due to an ongoing COVID vaccine mandate, which prompted a lawsuit from dozens of firefighters last week, local news reported. The county downgraded the mandate days after Gov. DeSantis’ press conference last month, but has harassed unvaccinated employees and impeded them from being promoted, firefighters have said.
The Gainesville workers’ victory against compulsory COVID vaccination follows similar recent successes in other states. In Arizona, the city of Tucson backed down on a vaccine mandate last month after Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich threatened to withhold up to $175 million in funding from the city, citing state laws enacted by Republicans earlier this year.