Group seeks clarity on 'business vaccine mandate'

FILE - A person receives a bandage after their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic during a back-to-school event.

A small-business lobbying group wants Florida lawmakers to better define business vaccine mandates as the Legislature heads into a special session next week. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis called the special session, at least in part, to push back against requirements that workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

National Federation of Independent Businesses State Executive Director Bill Herrle issued a statement Friday asking lawmakers to provide "a clear-cut definition of what constitutes a business vaccine mandate," which is part of key proposals (HB 1 and S-B 2) aimed at preventing vaccination and mask mandates. 

Herrle said NFIB members appreciate DeSantis’ effort to oppose a Biden administration COVID-19 directive that would require workers at businesses with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear masks while at work. 

The legislative proposals would prohibit employers from having COVID-19 vaccination requirements for workers without providing exemptions for such things as medical or religious reasons. 

The bills also would allow workers to opt-out of vaccinations by receiving periodic testing or wearing employer-provided personal protection equipment. The bill also would expand on a law passed earlier this year to prevent government agencies from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment.

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