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Special Olympics drops vaccine rule after $27M fine threat

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Tallahassee, Florida – After Florida moved to fine the organization $27.5 million for violating a state law against such rules, the Special Olympics has dropped a coronavirus vaccine mandate for its games in Orlando.

The organization had removed the requirement for its competition in the state, which is scheduled to run from June 5 to June 12, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced.

“In Florida, we want all of them to be able to compete. We do not think it’s fair or just to be marginalizing some of these athletes based on a decision that has no bearing on their ability to compete with honor or integrity,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Orlando.

According to The Florida health department, the Special Olympics would be fined $27.5 million for 5,500 violations of state law for requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination for attendees or participants.

Florida law bars businesses from requiring documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination. DeSantis has strongly opposed vaccine mandates and other virus policies endorsed by the federal government.

According to the Special Olympics statement on its website, people who were registered but unable to participate because of the mandate can now attend.

 

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