ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning COVID-19 vaccine passports and declared all local emergency orders related to the pandemic will be suspended.
The actions came Monday morning in St. Petersburg when the governor appeared at The Big Catch at Salt Creek.
“We need a new construct for these emergency powers that have been used throughout the country — lesser so, obviously, from the state of Florida’s perspective, but certainly we’ve had local governments do it,” DeSantis said. “Here at The Big Catch, they’ve had to deal with some of these local restrictions. I know that they’ve been fined for doing things, and we want for that to be something in the past.”
The ban on so-called vaccine passports — the required proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter a venue — goes into effect July 1. Local restaurant owners and hospitality workers at the news conference praised DeSantis’ executive decisions to keep restaurants open and ban the control of local governments to issue fines. Until July 1, all local emergency orders related to COVID-19 are suspended until the bill officially goes into effect.
The ban on vaccine passports in Florida prevents schools, government agencies and businesses from requiring people to show documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccinations or post-infection recovering before going inside an establishment.
“I think the other thing, quite frankly, is when you have other people — particularly in Washington — say, ‘Yeah, get vaccinated, and make sure you continue to social distance and wear masks all the time,’ well the message that sends to people is that the vaccines don’t work,” the governor said. “Because if the vaccines work, then that would be your ticket to live normally and make decisions for yourself.”
DeSantis said he thinks people should not have to hide under regulations after they’re vaccinated. He encouraged them to go out and live a normal life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website that some people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still get sick because no vaccine is 100 percent effective. Experts continue to monitor and evaluate how often this occurs, how severe their illness is, and how likely a vaccinated person is to spread COVID-19 to others.
If you’ve been fully vaccinated, the CDC says:
You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.
You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
You can gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues.
If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
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