“The library staff is very friendly and they don’t ever ask me about vaccines”: Residents and officials speak on Florida DOH vaccine passport investigation

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:11 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Two government agencies and one local government leader are included in the Florida Department of Health’s list of entities that are being investigated for potentially violating Governor Ron Desantis’s ban on vaccine passports in the state.

The Alachua County Library District, the Alachua Board of County Commissioners, and Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe were all named in the state DOH’s list that was released on Monday.

The library district does not require patrons to show proof of vaccinations to use any library services, yet they were mentioned among the 110 entities four times. Joanna Tseng, a patron who frequents the Millhopper Branch Library, says she has never been asked to share her vaccination status at any libraries in the county.

“Yeah just coming here the last couple of weeks no issues at all. The library staff is very friendly and they don’t ever ask me about vaccines,” said Tseng.

Alachua County has never required proof of vaccination to enter county buildings or to access services offered by the county. County spokesperson Mark Sexton says if the Florida DOH wants to know more information about that policy then they should contact the county.

“Well, if DOH is concerned that Alachua County has a vaccine passport or is requiring proof of vaccination for entry into our building all they have to do is give us a call and we’ll be glad to explain what our policy is. If they are under the impression that that is the case then they are mistaken,” said Sexton.

Mayor Poe was one of only two mayors in the state named in the list. The other was Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. Poe said in a statement that:

“I have no authority to impose such a requirement nor does the city have any sort of requirement, so the DOH has incorrect information and therefore no grounds for an investigation.”

It is believed that the Florida DOH received these accusations through the email account VaxPassFreeFL@DOH.FL, that email has been set up for citizens to file complaints about individuals or organizations that may be violating the state’s vaccination passport ban.

Leon County was recently fined $3.57 million by the state dept. of health. It is yet to be known whether the three Alachua county entities will be sent a hefty fine.

To see the full list of over 110 accused violators, read our previous article on the topic.

RELATED STORY: Multiple Alachua County organizations under investigation for violating state’s vaccine passport ban

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