Orange County gets letter from state threatening fines over vaccine mandate

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced Monday that the county received a letter threatening fines over its vaccine mandate.

The letter, from Doug Woodlief, says the county is in violation of a law signed by the governor back in May which prohibits governments from requiring proof of vaccination. 

"It’s arbitrary, capricious, overbroad and dangerously inhibits local governments from protecting its citizens," said Mayor Demings, in response to the letter.

The letter goes on to threaten $5,000 in fines per violation. Meanwhile, Mayor Demings defended the mandate’s legality.

"I also will tell you that we are on firm legal ground with this mandate that we have put in place," he said. 

Recently, the mayor announced he wouldn’t terminate anyone for not following the mandate but would issue a reprimand. 

Firefighters in Orange County have been the main group expressing concerns about the mandate. They say those reprimands can still cause damage. 

"If they get a written reprimand, they’re automatically eliminated from the promotional process, so this hurts us overall," said Orange County firefighter Jason Wheat.

Mayor Demings said the county’s legal team is reviewing the letter and will be responding this week.