Matt Gaetz tells Ron DeSantis that FL festival ‘illegally’ required vaccinations

Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz has publicly alerted Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida that the Florida celebration is “unlawful” that requires vaccinations from guests.


In a Monday letter addressed to DeSantis, Gaetz noted that the 30A Songwriters Festival—a music festival featuring 240 artists performing at more than 30 different venues from January 14 to January 17—was given attendees a full immunization or Need to show proof of negative. The COVID-19 test was taken not earlier than 72 hours before registering for the festival.

“Sadly, I write to inform you that within my congressional district, there appears to be a gross violation of Executive Order 21-81, ‘Restricting COVID-19 Vaccine Passports,'” Gaetz wrote to DeSantis.


Getz’s letter continued, “Your executive order allows entities to engage in COVID-19 screening in general, but does not allow for separate treatment for vaccinated and unvaccinated.”

newsweek Contacted 30A Songwriters Festival for comment.


Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz has publicly alerted Ron DeSantis that a Florida festival is “illegally” requiring vaccinations. In this photo, Getz (L) stands next to DeSantis (R) during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong / Getty

DeSantis signed the executive order on April 2, 2021. In it DeSantis wrote that when businesses require proof of vaccination, it “reduces”[s] personal liberty … loss[s] patient privacy” and “create[s] Two classes of citizens on the basis of vaccination.”

Getz’s letter Monday also noted that the event was partly funded by taxpayer dollars through the Tourist Development Council of Walton County. Businesses that do not comply with DeSantis’s order are ineligible for state grants.

“Vaccine passports should not be funded by Florida taxpayers,” Getz says.


DeSantis’ office received Gaetz’s complaint and sent it to the state Department of Health (FDOH), DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pusa told Floridapolitics.com. Pusav said suspected violations should be reported to the FDOH.

“The agency … investigates these complaints and, when necessary, takes enforcement action against entities that violate the law. The fine is $5,000 per violation, in accordance with the law,” Pushov told the above website.

When vaccine passports first appeared, they were seen as a possible way to encourage vaccination and allow patrons to disregard masks in indoor spaces. However, Omicron, Delta and other COVID-19 variants have complicated the proposal by being able to bypass the immunity offered by vaccinations, boosters and prior infections.


Nevertheless, medical professionals at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still encourage people to get vaccinated. Vaccination can reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and the amount of coronavirus in a person’s body, making the virus less transmissible.

Unvaccinated individuals are 17 times more likely to go to hospital and 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19, the White House said on Monday.

Some schools, military and medical workplaces require employees to keep records of required vaccinations for decades before COVID-19 emerged.

As of January 5, 20 states have banned vaccine passports for COVID-19. All 20 states have Republican governors.

Currently, five states—California, Hawaii, New York, Oregon and Washington—have laws that allow people with proof of vaccination to bypass some COVID-19 restrictions. All five states have Democratic governors.