In this file photo dated March 5, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to the media as he visited the COVID-19 vaccination center in Ocala, Florida to lift statewide mask mandates and criticize Biden’s unemployment-based formula The government to distribute billions in federal aid has put Republican governors and their approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic back to the fore. (Alan Youngblood / Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order on Friday that banned companies from requiring customers to provide proof that they had been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to receive service.

The Republican governor had previously announced his intention to issue an order banning so-called “vaccination cards”. His action also prevented any Florida government agency from issuing such vaccination records.

In its Executive Order, DeSantis claims that “vaccination records restrict individual freedom and compromise patient privacy”.

Effective immediately, companies in Florida are prohibited from requiring customers to submit documents that certify the COVID-19 vaccination in order to join a company or to be served.

However, the order does not preclude businesses such as restaurants and retail stores from following inspection protocols and other actions recommended by state and federal health authorities.

As of this week, more than 2 million Floridians have been infected with the virus and nearly 33,500 have died.

The governor’s order scrapped a plan at a private university near Fort Lauderdale requiring students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when they returned for the fall semester. Nova Southeastern University announced on Friday that vaccinations would be mandatory until August 1st.

Florida governor bans vaccination records.

Juan Carlos Guerrero, 62, holds his second reminder card in hand as he speaks to a health care worker after receiving a dose of COVID at the Miami-Dade County Tropical Park vaccination site in Miami on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 -19 vaccine from Pfizer. (AP Photo / Wilfredo Lee)

Nova President George L. Hanbury II said in a statement hours later that the school had planned universal vaccination “to protect the health and safety of our students and staff,” but that it would comply with DeSantis orders.

“We will continue to obey all state and federal laws as they evolve,” said Hanbury.

The university has 6,314 undergraduate and 14,574 advanced graduate students on its main Davie campus and in various locations in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, Tampa, and Puerto Rico.

Florida drops Covid restrictions with 14,000 dead

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