In May, Governor DeSantis signed SB 2006 which, among other provisions, bans governmental entities in Florida from requiring proof of vaccination or post infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from their operations. Additionally, the law imposes a $5,000 fine per violation for any entity, including government entities, that asks to see proof of vaccination in Florida.
“What we are seeing out of Washington D.C. and local governments like the City of Gainesville and Orange County should alarm Floridians, and raises important questions – if you can have people like firefighters who put lives on the line every day forced to either lose their jobs or get the vaccine regardless of immunity, how does that protect our community or keep us safer? It doesn’t. This is political, it’s about using government power to control. We’re going to protect these jobs, we’re going to protect livelihoods and we’re going to protect families,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “These big government mandates strip away people’s rights to make the best decision for themselves, but we are going to protect Floridians from federal and local government overreach. That is why I signed SB 2006 in May, because Floridians, not any governmental entity, are responsible for taking charge of their personal health.”
“Seeking a vaccine is a decision based on personal medical history and individual circumstances,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “It’s a decision I made earlier this year after consulting with my family and medical professionals. I want more eligible Floridians to seek out information about the vaccine and make a deliberate, informed decision about their health. However, the government forcing compliance by our first responders is wrong. I am proud to stand with Governor DeSantis against this local-government overreach and in support of our law enforcement officers.”
“I was proud to join Governor Ron Desantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody today to fight for the rights of Florida’s first responders,” said Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis. “These heroes have been on the frontlines of the COVID fight since day one and we cannot stand by while their livelihoods are threatened by over-reaching vaccine mandates. I’m vaccinated, but I’m also ANTI-MANDATE. We cannot allow DC bureaucrats to strong-arm these heroes and mandate what’s best for their health from their offices in Washington. I stand by our firefighters and trust our first responders to keep our communities safe and I will fight for their freedom and their jobs.”
“Our first responders are heroes, running toward danger and risking their lives to save others’. Their selfless service ensures our communities’ safety but requiring vaccinations or forcing our first responders out of their jobs does the exact opposite of protecting our citizens; instead, it disregards the very sacrifices these heroes make every single day,” said Congresswoman Kat Cammack (FL-03). “I’m proud to stand beside Governor DeSantis, AG Moody, CFO Patronis, and other local leaders in standing up to these unconstitutional, tyrannical government mandates. We will keep fighting to ensure every Floridian has the right to their own health decisions.”
“Through the pandemic, we [firefighters] served, but now we’re being told that we don’t know what’s right for us and that we cannot make our own personal health choices. We had [a] commissioner that sat behind a Zoom screen, and now they’re telling us about it [the pandemic] – we know, we’ve been there. Many of us have gotten COVID, or have immunity and many still have gotten the vaccine,” said Jonathan Cicio, Gainesville Fire Rescue. “We are not anti-vaccine. We are anti-mandate…. So friends, do not be fooled to think through it, do not be fooled into thinking you’re crazy or extreme from wanting to make your own health choices, you’re not the problem. Let’s stand for what’s right. Stay in the fight.”
“Losing potentially hundreds of firefighters will directly affect the safety of our citizens and our community. It won’t just be the unvaccinated that are affected. This is why we will fight this mandate and fight for our freedoms. The Orange County Mayor recently stated, and I quote, ‘The goal of the government is sometimes to protect individuals, even from themselves.’ This quote stuck with me. I am a firefighter and paramedic of 17 years treating patients and making life-saving decisions for them, and am trusted with that responsibility,” said Maria Bernard, Firefighter, Orange County Fire Rescue. “This statement implies that I must be incompetent because I need the government to protect me from myself. If someone in this audience was to collapse right now, I would hope you would have faith in knowing that any one of us firefighters that are here would immediately act without knowing if you are vaccinated or unvaccinated. We would put our skillsets and years of knowledge to work and do everything possible to save your life. If we can make those decisions, then I can assure you, we know how to protect ourselves. We know what is right for our bodies, we know how to weigh the risk versus the benefits for ourselves and do not need the overreach of government that is being imposed not only on us, but employees across Florida and the entire United States.”
“It’s about our freedom and liberty. It’s not about the vaccine. They’re [the City of Gainesville] taking away our freedom and liberty, little by little,” said Darris Friend, City of Gainesville Employee.
“If you need help, the people employed by the City of Gainesville will come help you. We are smart, educated, and easily employable individuals, many of whom have standing job offers, but are waiting to see what happens. Many of whom have already left at the city’s detriment. We just want to do our jobs. We want to show up and do our jobs to make medical decisions without our employer dictating to us what to do,” said Christine Damm, City of Gainesville Employee. “We do not want to be required to share our medical decisions with our employer or openly with other employees. We are your neighbors. We are just like you. We live or work in the City of Gainesville and we love Gainesville and we love Florida.”