Special Olympics drops vaccination mandate after Florida threatens fines

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Tallahassee – Friday, June 3, 2022: – The Special Olympics on Friday dropped its coronavirus vaccine mandate for its games in Orlando after Florida decided to fine the organization $27.5 million for violating a law of the State against such demands.

The Florida Health Department notified the Special Olympics of the fine Thursday in a letter threatening $27.5 million in fines for 5,500 violations of state law, as the organization required each participant and participant show proof of vaccination against coronavirus.

On Friday, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the organization had removed the requirement from its competition which begins Sunday, June 5 in Orlando and ends Sunday, June 12.

A press release issued Friday by the governor’s office states that “Florida has worked hard to make this event as inclusive as possible, and after lengthy negotiations with Special Olympics International, there will be no COVID vaccine mandate for this event”.

“Florida will always welcome all of our athletes with disabilities, regardless of their COVID vaccination status,” the governor said. “Special Olympics International should never have imposed a vaccination mandate on its athletes. Special Olympians who were in limbo for months will now be able to compete in Florida thanks to our continued actions to keep Floridians’ medical decisions private.


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