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Florida Reigns in COVID-19 Prohibitions

13 Jun


Update Applicable to:

All Florida employers

What happened?

Pursuant to a legislative proposal announced in January to make COVID-19 freedoms permanent, the effective date of applicable law (Bill CS/SB 252) is coming up on June 1, 2023.

What are the details?

CS/SB 252 amends several statutes in order to prohibit mask mandates; mandates on emergency use authorizations (EUA) vaccinations, messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccinations, and COVID-19 vaccinations; and COVID-19 testing mandates in educational institutions, business entities, and governmental entities. The bill prohibits these entities and institutions from requiring proof of a vaccination with one of the specified types of vaccinations, post-infection recovery from COVID-19, or a COVID-19 test to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the entity or institution. The bill also prohibits business and governmental entities from certain employment practices based on an employee’s, or a potential employee’s, vaccination or post-infection status or the refusal to take a COVID-19 test.

Additionally, the bill prohibits business entities, governmental entities, and educational institutions from requiring a person to wear a mask, a face shield, or any other facial covering that covers the nose and mouth or denying a person access to, entry upon, service from, or admission to such entity or institution or otherwise discriminating against any person based on his or her refusal to wear a mask, face shield, or other facial covering.

Business entities and governmental entities that violate these provisions are subject to discipline by the Department of Legal Affairs (DLA) while educational institutions are subject to discipline by the Department of Health (DOH). Such discipline may include fines of up to $5,000 for each violation.

In summary, beginning June 1, 2023, employers in Florida are prohibited from doing any of the following:

  • Basing any employment decision on documentation of vaccination if the vaccination is for COVID-19 or uses mRNA technology
  • Basing any employment decision on the knowledge or a belief about a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status or their receipt of any mRNA vaccine, or their COVID-19 post-infection recovery status
  • Requiring COVID-19 testing
  • Basing any employment decision on a person’s failure to take a COVID-19 test
  • Requiring employees to wear face coverings that cover their mouth and nose, with exceptions for healthcare providers and when face coverings are a standard occupational safety measure.

For more information, please see the links below:

Governor Announcement: Link

Proposal: Link

Bill: CS/SB 252

Bill Page: Link

What do employers need to do?

Employers will need to review the above prohibitions and the links provided and update their COVID-19 policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the new law.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Florida PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.

This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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