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A Sarasota Store Is Suing Florida Over Its Lack Of A Vaccine Requirement

 The store hopes to open in October with proof of vaccination required at entry.
Bead Abode
The store hopes to open in October with proof of vaccination required at entry.

In some states, vaccination cards have become the golden ticket to restaurants, bars and stores. But in Florida, businesses are legally not allowed to require proof of vaccination for entry.

The owners of Bead Abode, a Sarasota craft store, are suing the Florida surgeon general over the law.

The store has been closed since March 2020 but wants to reopen its new location in October with safety protocols — such as a proof-of-vaccination requirement to protect customers, said Andrew Boyer, co-owner and legal counsel. 

Bead Abode has still been making online sales throughout the pandemic. But most regulars are eager to return in person, Boyer said.

Safety measures like proof of vaccination, also known as "vaccine passports," will make customers feel more protected, he added. 

 "They want us to provide them with the safest place to come and bead as possible,” he said. “We wouldn’t be pursuing it in this way if this wasn’t something they were asking for.” 

Under the law, which took effect July 1, a company — and any worker who enforces a vaccine requirement from customers — would each face a $5,000 fine.

Boyer said the fines are "completely excessive."

"It's devastating for small businesses and large businesses as well," he said. 

He also argues the law is unconstitutional. 

"It's an egregious government overreach and a violation of First Amendment free speech rights," Boyer said. 

The Florida Department of Health declined comment, saying it does not discuss pending litigation.

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Copyright 2021 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7.

Bailey LeFever