Issues executive order as Biden administration, companies float idea

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis (Video screenshot)

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Friday prohibiting so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports in his state.

The move comes after DeSantis denounced the proposal by some companies and government to require that people be vaccinated to patronize an establishment, WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach reported.

“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society,” DeSantis said Monday.

The governor’s executive order states vaccine passports cannot be required to take part in “everyday life,” including “attending a sporting event, patronizing a restaurant or going to a movie theater.”

The Florida Legislature is working on making the order permanent, DeSantis said in a tweet.

The Republican governor argued that vaccine passports would create two classes of people, and his aim is to protect the “rights and privacies” of residents and allow for the free flow of commerce in the state.

Any business that wants to be eligible for grants or contracts funded through state revenue must comply, the order states.

‘You want the fox to guard the hen house?’

On Monday, DeSantis promised he would take executive action if vaccine passports are required by the Biden administration or private companies,

“You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean, give me a break,” DeSantis said. “I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do.”

On Monday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., told Fox News that the Democrats’ move to require vaccine IDs to conduct “basic daily activities” undercuts their rationale for opposing voter IDs.

The Biden administration reportedly is working on a way to standardize a vaccine ID process, the Washington Post reported. The paper said the administration and private companies, “from cruise lines to sports teams,” could require the passports, which could amount to an app on a smartphone with a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass.

In an interview Sunday night, liberal feminist author Naomi Wolf warned a vaccine passport would be “literally the end of human liberty in the West.”

In January, the Financial Times reported Microsoft is part of a coalition of technology and health organizations working on the development of a vaccine passport.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested last August that the vaccine would be mandatory for residents of his country but later backtracked.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top White House coronavirus adviser, said in August he would not support requiring the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide.

“We don’t want to be mandating from the federal government to the general population. It would be unenforceable and not appropriate,” he said.

States, cities and businesses, however, could require vaccination and impose penalties for noncompliance, such as a fine.

In early December, a bill was proposed in the New York State Assembly that would require COVID-19 vaccines for all residents who are able to safely receive it. The move came after the New York State Bar Association recommended the state consider making it mandatory for every resident, except for people exempted by a doctor. In Virginia in August, the health commissioner said the state would mandate the vaccine, but a spokeswoman later said there were no such plans.

The CEO of Australia’s Quantas said in December that proof of vaccination would be a requirement for all international passengers with his airline in the future and others likely would adopt the policy.

However, in a Reuters panel discussion with health experts and tourism authorities on Monday, World Travel and Trade Council CEO Gloria Guevara said she disagreed with “the approach from Qantas.”

“We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel,” she said. “If you require the vaccination before travel, that takes us to discrimination.”

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