DeSantis cited the wide availability of vaccines in the Sunshine State and said supply has now eclipsed demand. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20.9 million doses have been distributed to the state and 15.5 million vaccines have been given in a state with an estimated 21.5 million people. DeSantis made the announcement by signing a bill prohibiting entities, including private companies, from requiring so-called “vaccine passports” and amending the state’s emergency management law by limiting the powers local emergency.
“What I’m going to do is sign the bill, it will come into effect on July 1,” DeSantis said when signing the bill on Monday in St. Petersburg. “I will also be signing an executive order under this bill rescinding all other local COVID emergency orders as of July 1. But then, to close the gap between yesterday and today, I’m going to suspend, under my executive authority, local emergency orders regarding COVID. I think it’s the evidence-based thing to do. ”
DeSantis said his administration wanted people to “have fun” and “live freely in the state of Florida.”
DeSantis had previously unilaterally banned even private companies from requiring proof of vaccination to enter. The law banning vaccine passports, effective July 1, results in a fine of $ 5,000 any time a business or school requires proof of vaccination to enter.
DeSantis, a Republican and potential 2024 presidential candidate, was among the fastest governors to abandon COVID-19 security protocols.
But other more liberal jurisdictions are also working to remove restrictions on COVID-19. New York City plans to return to full capacity by July 1. CDC director Rochelle Walensky said she believes July 1 is a reasonable target for a return to normalcy, if vaccinations continue to rise at the rate they have been and cases continue to decline. at the same rate.
More than 100 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, the White House announced last week.
– Jack Renaud contributed reporting.