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Tags: special olympics | covid | vaccine | mandate | florida

Special Olympics Rescinds COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate to Meet Florida Statute

a special olympics swimmer competes in an event
(Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 03 June 2022 02:01 PM EDT

Special Olympics Inc. on Thursday announced it had rescinded its COVID-19 vaccine for participants in the 2022 USA Games scheduled to begin Sunday in Orlando, Florida.

The announcement came after the Department of Florida Health and the Office of the State Surgeon General informed Special Olympics it had been assessed a $27.5 million fine for 5,500 violations of state law after officials had made "repeated attempts to avoid imposing fines against the charitable organization."

"Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI) announced today June 2, 2022, that it is lifting the vaccine requirement for delegation members attending the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games being held in Orlando, Florida, June 5-12, as demanded by the state of Florida officials on May 27, based upon the Florida Department of Health's Interpretation of Florida Law," the organization said in a statement.

"Delegates who were registered for the Games but were unable to participate due to the prior vaccine requirement, now have the option to attend. SOI, Special Olympics North America, and the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games Local Organizing Committee will make best efforts to accommodate eligible individuals."

Newsmax first reported on the Special Olympics vaccine mandate in early March, when it was informed that Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) flag football team had been told it would not be allowed to participate in the 2022 USA Games due to an insufficient number of players — the result of several participants not satisfying the vaccine mandate.

Special Olympics Inc. had imposed the mandate for its world and regional competitions.

Attorney Erik Weber, autistic and a longtime Special Olympics athlete and coach, wrote DeSantis, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, and the Florida Department of Health to advocate for individual medical freedom for athletes, coaches, volunteers, and families at sporting events and festivities.

"Great news. Governor DeSantis and Florida fought for medical freedom for athletes," Weber wrote in an email to Newsmax on Friday. "Because of that, Special Olympics Incorporated got rid of its USA Games vaccine mandate."

Section 381.00316(1) of the Florida Statutes prohibits a business entity, which includes a charitable organization, from requiring any patron or customer to provide documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon or service from the business entity.

Newsmax reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on what SOI’s decision meant with the imposed fine, but had not received a reply.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
Special Olympics Inc. on Thursday announced it had rescinded its COVID-19 vaccine for participants in the 2022 USA Games scheduled to begin Sunday in Orlando, Florida.
special olympics, covid, vaccine, mandate, florida
397
2022-01-03
Friday, 03 June 2022 02:01 PM
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