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City doubles down on vaccine-or-mask requirement for public meetings

May 20 City Commission meeting

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Now that the CDC has issued guidance that people who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks in most situations, the Gainesville City Commission is seeing some conflict at its public meetings.

Multiple members of the Gainesville Community Reinvestment Advisory Board went maskless at their May 18 meeting, and everything proceeded without incident.

May 18 GCRA meeting

However, when Nathan Skop tried to walk into the May 20 City Commission meeting without a mask, he was confronted by multiple people who told him he had to present proof of vaccination. The City’s protocol is that if someone presents proof that they are fully vaccinated, they will be given an orange sticker, which tells everyone that the person does not have to wear a mask. All of the city commissioners wore masks for the whole meeting.

Video courtesy of Nathan Skop

Skop was also confronted by City Manager Lee Feldman:

Video courtesy of Nathan Skop

Just after adoption of the agenda, Mayor Lauren Poe discussed the issue, saying, “If you would like to show you’ve been vaccinated to one of our security folks up front, they are happy to do that with you. Otherwise, we have no way of knowing who is and isn’t vaccinated. For the benefit of safety for a little while longer, we ask you take the precautions to protect public health.”

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During the meeting, one man who had been wearing a mask went up to the podium to make a comment. It didn’t appear that he had an orange sticker to demonstrate that he had provided proof of vaccination, but he said, “First I would like to say I have been vaccinated. I just removed my mask while speaking.” Mayor Poe replied, “Thank you. Congratulations and thank you.”

After Skop’s videos were posted to social media, WCJB TV20 reached out to the governor’s office for a comment and received the following statement: “Gainesville’s vaccine requirements violate the spirit of the Governor’s Emergency Order 21-88 which prohibits vaccine passports and protects the fundamental rights and privacies of Floridians. The policy also inhibits public participation in government proceedings that should be open and accessible to the public. Further, the policy violates Florida’s recently enacted law, SB 2006, effective July 1. The City of Gainesville should immediately cease to impose such discriminatory policies upon individuals.”

The City, however, seems to have no intention of changing their policies. This morning, a GPD officer requested guidance on officers’ role in City meetings, and according to an email from Chief Tony Jones’ executive assistant this morning, Jones spoke with Feldman and received the following guidance:

Per the City manager, if you are a city employee, you must have provided EHS with your proof of vaccination.  If you have not been vaccinated, you will be required to wear a mask.

For Citizens, they will be screened in the lobby.  If they show proof of vaccination, they can be permitted in the auditorium without a mask.

If a citizen has not been vaccinated, they will be required to wear a mask in the auditorium.

If a citizen refuses to show proof of vaccination and not being cooperative regarding the mask requirement, they are not allowed to enter the auditorium.

Alachua Chronicle has submitted a public records request to the City for any email from the governor or any State official about the issue, but the request has not been fulfilled.

The City Commission has multiple meetings next week in the City Hall Auditorium, so citizens should be prepared to present proof of vaccination if they want to enter without a mask.

  • I would love to see state law enforcement go in and arrest every one of the Marxist leaders. Current leadership once again just proves they are the true hypocrites. They continue to ignore the same science they were crying about following 2 months ago. They continue to make up rules that fit their personal political agenda.Toss ’em in the county jail and await first hearing the following morning. Arreola is used to it, Ward somehow avoided it and Poe needs it.

    It’s time for Gainesville residents to really “wake” up or shut up.

    • That’s right…the governor needs to send the state police
      Down and arrest the commissioners & mayor if they
      Don’t allow citizens to participate in local government.
      The mask thing was promulgated under emergency order and now that the emergency order is over, our
      Constitutional rights should no longer be suspended.
      The CC is just trying to drag things out…it’s political,
      It has nothing to do with health…it’s all about control…
      After the state police arrest the commissioners & mayor,
      The governor can appoint new ones and the new
      Commission will allow citizens to speak.

      • Jesus Christ!…I read the article without looking at the
        Videos provided by Nathan Skop…Skop is right!
        The governor said that “we don’t need vaccine passports”…it’s also against the law for them to
        Ask about my medical condition…some people can’t
        Wear masks because it affects their breathing and
        Some people don’t want the vaccine because it may
        Not be safe or for religious reasons…I think Feldman
        Should be arrested, fired, and under these circumstances lose all his benefits and have to pay his own legal fees…same thing goes for the mayor & commissioners…this is terrible…what a bunch of tyrants! I hope we get some more clarification from
        Governor Desantis about this and his order…

  • Someone needs to have Sheriff Watson come enforce the Governor’s Executive Order and arrest the City Council and Mr Feldman before he costs the City anymore money with his ridiculous decisions

    • Yes. I was thinking the same thing…let’s see what Gov. Desantis does to clarify the issue…hopefully, we get
      Some clarification soon…I emailed the governor this
      Morning and anyone else reading this should contact
      The governor too to get our pre-emergency Order rights back.. wearing masks and vaccine passport to attend
      A city meeting is BS…

  • Least you forget they G city commission is holier than thou mere peasants. Let them eat cake!

    • Yeah…well, they’re about to get a wedgie If they
      Keep up with this tyrannical BS when the emergency order is over….They might get arrested, penalized, fined,
      Removed from office, and the governor has the legal authority to appoint new commissioners & a mayor.

      • What a wonderful, wonderful place it would be, if they would throw them in jail and throw away the key.
        Let the people who they’ve mistreated,
        feed them $h!t and make them eat it.
        One day city residents will realize the joke,
        These commissioners are making the city go broke.
        Are the Gainesville voters really this dumb,
        They just keep electing pieces of dung.

        • Somethings you cannot change….it’s the mob vs. the individual…the commis think they are being altruistic but they take away our inalienable rights… it’s a never ending battle and freedom requires eternal vigilance…Maybe the governor should require that all elective officials reaffirm their loyalty oath to the state & US constitution…if they don’t support our inalienable rights, then they must be removed for violating that oath…they shouldn’t be getting their marching orders from a foreign entity (UN) and pushing agenda 21, agenda 30, great reset, & green new deal…it’s all about control and making global totalitarianism….
          They have destroyed the dollar with printing of $ and
          Paying people not to work…they want Nazi control
          Over travel with vaccine passport (papers please!)… they will create a prison planet where everyone is equally miserable…they want to take
          Away your right to defend yourself…I am free to think for myself…the left is a brainwashed cult and there’s a lot of stupid people out there who cannot think for themselves and want government to control every aspect of their life and take care of them…government is their god… there’s no reasoning with them…they’re irrational. They pull the race card, the fear card, the death card…it’s a poor way to win a debate…facts & logic do not matter to them…

  • “Mayor Lauren Poe discussed the issue, saying, ‘If you would like to show you’ve been vaccinated to one of our security folks up front, they are happy to do that with you. Otherwise, we have no way of knowing who is and isn’t vaccinated. For the benefit of safety for a little while longer, we ask you take the precautions to protect public health.’”

    Hey, fool, your “little bit longer” has been 15 months! In all that time, no one has demonstrated that requiring masks helps an iota. In fact, just the opposite.

    Governor Desantis, please remove this council an have Gainesville hold a special election.

    • This might end up happening if they don’t stop with
      Their tyranny…they need to be singing a different tune
      Or they may be removed by the Governor …it is a possibility.. The jungle Tom toms are beating…..

  • The so-called “security folks” have no jurisdiction to approve or disapprove a medical document.

  • Even with proof of Vaccination, the CDC continues to recommend that those who are fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks and socially distance:
    .
    CDC April 12, 2021 – Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
    .
    “We are still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. Until we know more about how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands often.”
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html

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