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Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that the state will fine cities and counties $5,000 for each employee required to get vaccinated, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Why it matters: It is the Republican governor's latest threat against local officials who have implemented mask or vaccine mandates in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Driving the news: Local governments in Gainesville, Orange County and Leon County are bucking a new state law that bars businesses and governments from requiring proof of vaccination from employees and customers.

  • They have each required their employees to get vaccinated or face termination, with some exemptions.

What he's saying: "We are not going to let people get fired because of the vaccine mandate," DeSantis said at a news conference on Monday, per the Tampa Bay Times. "You don’t just cast aside people who have been serving faithfully over this issue, over what’s basically a personal choice over their individual health."

  • "That’s millions and millions of dollars potentially in fines," he added.

The other side: Local governments are standing by their decisions, despite the threats.

  • "It is our belief that as an employer we retain the right to require vaccination as a condition of employment," Gainesville spokesperson Shelby Taylor said in a statement to AP.
  • "It could be a lot of money, yes, [no] question about it," Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, a Democrat, said at a news conference, per AP. Demings called DeSantis' moves politically motivated and stated that officials would "deal" with the threat either through the courts or another avenue.
  • "At the end of the day, it is our goal to protect the people in our greater community, to keep them safe, which is a fundamental role of government."

The big picture: Florida has become the epicenter of the nation's outbreak this summer.

  • Deaths in the state comprised over 20% of COVID-related deaths across the U.S. last week, per AP.

Go deeper: Biden plans COVID vaccine mandate for 80 million private sector employees

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Go deeper

United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Photo: James D. Morgan via Getty Images

United Airlines said Wednesday that over 97% of its U.S.-based employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a company memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: United announced in August that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or face termination. It's one of several airlines that set vaccine requirements even before President Biden issued his own vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers.

12 hours ago - Health

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (left) and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Photos: Montinique Monroe and Win McNamee via Getty Images

The Education Department is investigating Texas' ban on mask mandates and its possible violation of disability rights.

Why it matters: Texas is one of several states under investigation for mask mandate bans that have impacted schools across the U.S.