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Special Olympics drops vaccine mandate after facing $27M fine

Governor Ron DeSantis
Posted at 10:57 AM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-05 11:55:41-04

Given Florida’s law that says organizations can not enforce vaccine mandates, Special Olympics said it will allow unvaccinated participants at its events next week in Florida.

The Florida health department notified the Special Olympics of the fine in a letter Thursday that said the organization would be fined $27.5 million for 5,500 violations of state law for requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination for attendees or participants.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who pushed for the law’s passage, told reporters, “This will be a relief to a lot of the athletes," he says. "There's a significant number of them who were in limbo up until this week."

Athletes must be at least 8 years of age and have one of the following conditions: intellectual disability, cognitive delays as measured by formal assessment, or significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that have required specially designed instruction.

Orlando will host the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games starting Sunday.