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Florida judge grants temporary injunction against Gainesville vaccine mandate

More than 200 employees, which include firefighters and police officers, have filed a lawsuit against the city.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A judge on Wednesday granted a temporary injunction that prevents the city of Gainesville from requiring its employees to be fully vaccinated. 

In her ruling, Judge Monica Brasington of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court said the city provided no evidence at the injunction hearing. Because of that, Brasington said the city's vaccine mandate did not serve a "compelling interest through the least restrictive means." 

More than 200 employees, which include firefighters and police officers, filed the lawsuit, Reuters reports. The Gainesville City Commission has given city employees and contractors until Oct. 14 to receive vaccines or risk facing termination. Lawyers for the workers say many employees would rather quit or retire than follow the mandate.

RELATED: Attorney General Ashley Moody gives her support to city employees challenging Gainesville vaccine mandate

A spokesperson for the city of Gainesville said the city believes it is within its rights to mandate vaccinations.

The injunction is only in place until the courts can reach a final decision on the vaccine mandate. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened fines for local governments who mandate vaccines. 

Back in April, state lawmakers passed SB 2006 – banning businesses, educational institutions and government entities from making people show proof of vaccination to enter. In May, DeSantis signed that bill into law.

The way it's written, it doesn't explicitly say a government agency cannot tell one of its own employees to get vaccinated and appears more directed at individuals who walk into the government office for services. However, DeSantis has made clear that he believes it covers both.

Here in the Tampa Bay area, Tampa and Hillsborough County are requiring employees to get vaccinated. 

In July, the county announced all new employees starting on or after Aug. 30 had to be fully vaccinated. Weeks later, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced a more stringent vaccine mandate.

Castor announced any employees who are not vaccinated after Sep. 30 will be required to wear an N-95 mask and take a COVID-19 test once a week.