ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — At the St. Francis Inn in St. Augustine, masks are required in common areas and owner Joe Finnegan says his guests, for the most part, comply.
“We’ve had a few guests at check-in challenge us and if they can’t agree to sign the form we present to them, then we ask them to leave,” he said.
What he isn’t sure about is how vaccine passports, or a ban on them, would affect his ability to make sure those who stay at his business are doing so with their health in mind.
“The staff, our employees, and the other guests who may not have been vaccinated for one reason or another and we have a responsibility of everyone who works or stays with us,” Finnegan told First Coast News.
Gov. Ron DeSantis opposes the passports, calling them ‘unacceptable’ for the government or the private sector to impose requirements that you show proof of vaccination. He plans to sign an executive order soon against that requirement.
However, Finnegan says it should be up to him, and not the state, to make that call. “If we are going to decide to require guests who say they’ve been vaccined and therefore didn’t have to wear a mask, we are going to ask for proof of that,” he said.
The Biden administration said the decision for vaccine passports would be up to private companies like airlines and cruise lines, but it’s unclear how those companies would implement their own rules with DeSantis’ executive order.
For now, Finnegan is following the science. “When the scientists say it’s okay for everybody to mix with or without masks, with or without vaccines, we return to normal and that’s great. Until I hear that from the people in the know, I am going to take every feasible precaution,” Finnegan explained.