Jacksonville businesses, venues, agencies under investigation by the state over ‘vaccine passports’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The state health department says it’s investigating some businesses in the Jacksonville area for requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The people and places on the list could be facing millions of dollars in fines.

The list has over a hundred agencies, businesses, venues, and people on it from across the state. Action News Jax counted eight places in the Jacksonville area on the list.

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“People really need yoga. Like right now there’s an epidemic happening of coronavirus, but there’s also a mental health epidemic, and people need an outlet,” Ashley Hanna said.

She opened Titanium Yoga to the community three years ago. Navigating her business through COVID-19 has taught her to get creative. She opened up two vaccine-only classes, leaving the other 38 classes open to everyone.

“We just want everyone to feel safe,” she said.

Those two classes landed her on the list of places possibly violating the state’s “vaccine passport” law, which bars businesses from requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

Hanna says she didn’t even know she was being investigated until another Florida business owner called her.

“This to me just seems silly,” she said.

The other spots in the Jacksonville area on the list include Allied Universal, Mobile Mini, Daily’s Place, FDLE’s Jacksonville counterterrorism squad, Seafarers International Union, Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman.

A spokesperson at Daily’s Place tells Action News Jax some artists have said they’d like to require attendees to show a negative COVID test before entering the venue. They can show a vaccine passport as an alternative to a negative test, the venue said.

Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson expects lots of legal action will be taken, and says it’s still unknown who will come out on top.

“We’re in this really odd situation of having vaccination certificates — many of us have those — and if an employer asks for them, are they within their rights to ask for them, or is that a HIPAA violation?,” Carson said.

As for Hanna, she wants everybody to feel safe and welcome at her studio.

“We just want everyone to feel like they can do something healthy for their body, mind and spirit, while being inside during this crazy time,” she said.

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Keep in mind, just because a place is on the list doesn’t mean it’s breaking the law. The places on the list are simply being investigated.