SWFL businesses reacting to the state’s new anti-mandate bills

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Bills to fight against vaccine mandates have been officially signed into law. On Thursday, Gov. DeSantis signed the bills sent to his desk by the Florida legislature’s special session.

The first bill is an anti-mandate bill targeting businesses and schools. Another removes the Surgeon General’s power to mandate vaccines The third is a plan for Florida to withdraw from OSHA, the agency that regulates workplace safety and the last creates a public records exemption for medical records and religious beliefs

Now businesses in Southwest Florida are reacting to the bills and changing their policies if needed to comply with the new rules.

Dominique, an employee at Penny’s Coffee Bar in Cape Coral, has no problem with the governor’s push to prohibit vaccine mandates for private businesses. “I think it’s all up to the person if they should get it or not. They should be able to do what they want with their body.”

Right down the street, Frank Taylor, who owns the New Start Wellness Center agrees. “I would encourage them to come here for an immune system boost. But I don’t think anyone should mandate a vaccine.”

Lots of small businesses, and big ones too, have enough trouble hiring people these days, and most fear a vaccine mandate would only make it harder.

Gov. DeSantis said on Thursday that he stands with companies looking to hire and those who want to keep their people working regardless of vaccine status. “Nobody in Florida should be losing their job over these jabs. We want people to be able to work, we want people to be able to provide for their families, we want people to be able to have livelihoods. And that’s just the way it’s going to be in this state.”

The Biden vaccine mandate does not force employers to fire unvaccinated employees, but if they are not they must be tested at least once a week.

A federal court issued a “Stay” on the Biden mandate taking effect.

Hollywood Democrat Evan Jenne said, “the damage to public health will last for a generation and lead to untold death and suffering completely unnecessary.”

A number of larger employers, like NCH, put in a vaccine mandate and let people go who did not comply.

Lee Health plans to comply with the Biden mandate if it takes effect.

Both the Biden mandate and Florida’s anti-vaccine laws threaten to fine violators.

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