NY POST – The Special Olympics bowed to pressure from Florida officials and will scrap vaccination requirements for athletes at its event this weekend.
The state had threatened the games’ governing body with $27.5 million in fines, according to a report.
The event, which is being held in Orlando, is expected to attract more than 5,500 athletes from around the country — all of whom were initially required to have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
But the organizers of the Special Olympics USA Games dropped its mandate after Florida threatened to impose penalties, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“There needs to be a choice in this regard,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a promotional event in Orlando on Friday.
“Let them compete. We want everyone to be able to compete.”
Last year, DeSantis banned vaccine passports and ordered the state to issue $5,000 fines to businesses, schools and government agencies that require people to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Jay O’Brien of ABC News was the first to report that the Special Olympics backed down from its mandate.
DeSantis’ Health Department sent a letter to the Special Olympics International on Thursday notifying the governing body that its vaccine requirement violated state law.
Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general, told reporters that he had been in talks with SOI over the past six months in an attempt to avoid imposing fines …