'The crazies have taken over': Florida county’s multi-million dollar fine for vaccine mandate sparks outrage
Ron DeSantis answers questions while First Lady Casey DeSantis listens following a roundtable discussion regarding mental health at the downtown Tampa Firefighter Museum on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. - Ivy Ceballo/Times/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

A Florida county is facing a multi-million dollar fine for requiring its government employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. According to The Daily Beast, the Florida Department of Health issued a fine of $3.57 million to Leon County, Fla.

The county, which houses Florida's state capital Tallahassee, is accused of "'blatant violation' of Florida's controversial 'vaccine passport' law that prohibits governments and businesses from requiring residents to show proof they were vaccinated against the coronavirus."

According to the health agency, the county has violated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) order prohibiting vaccine mandates a total of 714 times by requiring employees to provide proof of vaccination. So far, 14 government employees have been terminated for failure to meet vaccination requirements.

Now, the Republican governor has released a statement criticizing the county for its mandate.

"It is unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida law, infringed on current and former employees' medical privacy, and fired loyal public servants because of their personal health decisions," DeSantis said in a statement announcing the fines. "We will continue fighting for Floridians' rights and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law. We're going to stand up for Floridians' jobs, stand up for Floridians' livelihoods, and stand up for freedom."

In the wake of DeSantis' announcement of the fine, some Florida officials have released statements expressing concern and outrage.

"Unbelievable!" Sen. Loranne Ausley (D-Tallahassee, Fla.) said in a statement. "We don't need the State bullying our communities or private businesses who are simply trying to serve the people and get on the other side of this pandemic. It's going to take all of us standing together to make this happen."

However, officials are not the only people angered by the fine. Describing DeSantis' action as "political posturing," Christopher Link, of Tallahassee, Fla., explained how the imposed fine will impact residents.

"It's all just political posturing," Christopher Link, a Tallahassee resident, told the publication on Tuesday. " t makes no sense and only hurts the taxpayer. The fact that the better good for the health of the state is so wrongly politicized is insane. The crazies have taken over, really."

He added, "This pandemic has been going on for over a year, and I've never really felt like the priority in Florida was about saving lives. Just careers."