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Saturday, November 6, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis 'want(s) people to be able to make their own decisions' about catching or spreading COVID-19

Posted By on Sat, Nov 6, 2021 at 2:44 PM

  • Photo via Medina, OH, Councilwoman Jessica Hazeltine/Twitter

Continuing a series of legal challenges to decisions from President Joe Biden’s administration, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that Florida will join Georgia, Alabama and private plaintiffs in filing a lawsuit against COVID-19 vaccination requirements for tens of millions of workers.

The lawsuit was filed Friday at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It challenges a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration that will apply to employers with 100 or more workers. The rule will take effect Jan. 4 and require employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative at least once a week.

“People are so sick of constantly being bossed around, restricted, mandated, and all of these different things,” DeSantis told reporters Thursday. “We’ve had enough of it, and we want people to be able to make their own decisions.”

DeSantis pledged that Florida also will challenge a separate rule issued Thursday by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that will apply to health-care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Employees in the facilities will have to show they have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 5 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

But as DeSantis ramped up his crusade against the mandates, leaders of the two federal agencies issued statements Thursday pointing to a need for vaccination requirements as the pandemic nears the start of its second year.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on workers, and we continue to see dangerous levels of cases,” U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said. “We must take action to implement this emergency temporary standard to contain the virus and protect people in the workplace against the grave danger of COVID-19. Many businesses understand the benefits of having their workers vaccinated against COVID-19, and we expect many will be pleased to see this OSHA rule go into effect.”

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