City of Gainesville’s vaccine mandate temporarily halted by judge’s order
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The temporary injunction granted by a circuit judge preventing city of Gainesville officials from requiring their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Although, the legal battle on vaccine mandates in the city does not end with the recent ruling.
“So it could be another year, it could be two years,” said Attorney Jeff Childers who represents the employees suing the city over the mandate.
Eighth judicial circuit Judge Monica Brasington granted the temporary injunction to 250 city employees who have called for the end of the city’s vaccine mandate. The group is made up of utility workers, firefighters, police officers and paramedics. The order only lasts until a trial date is set.
“So, the courts already ruled that she thinks we’re going to win at the end of the day,” added Childers. “So the lawsuits going to continue and the next thing I’m going to be doing is issuing subpoenas to depose all of those city officials. Right, that’s coming tomorrow.”
City officials now cannot require their employees to get vaccinated nor can they fire employees for ‘not’ getting one either. Judge Brasington’s ruling mentioned the Gainesville officials did not provide any evidence at all during the injunction hearing.
“The topic is at the front of every discussion at city hall is COVID,” said Commissioner Harvey Ward. “Because we’re not going to stop talking about it, we’re not going to stop trying to keep the community healthy. Too many people depend on it.”
The topic also brought at least three separate protests to the city’s mandate outside of city hall. Ward said the city attorney has to consider what can still be done despite the ruling.
“As difficult the conversation as it has been with our city community builders, with the folks who spend every day trying to make this a better city, as many disagreements as we’ve had, that there is no one who works here who doesn’t want to see a health community,” mentioned Ward.
City commissioners have a meeting scheduled for Thursday evening where they will have the opportunity to discuss how to move forward with their vaccine mandate.
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