TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will not mandate that Floridians get the COVID-19 vaccine and opposes the idea of “vaccine passports.”

He made the announcement at a news conference in Tallahassee.

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While the governor has previously spoken out against “vaccine passports,” he said he would take the additional step of forbidding businesses from refusing to serve people who can’t prove they have been vaccinated.

“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society,” he said. “I think it’s something that people have certain freedoms and individual freedoms to make decisions for themselves.”

DeSantis, who was joined during his press conference by House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson, called on the Republican-led Legislature to send him a measure for his signature that would enshrine the matter into law, but he did not lay out specifics.

The governor has rejected mask mandates and has used his executive authority to preempt local governments from enforcing such measures. He has done so to reopen the state’s economy after much of it was shuttered a year ago to help control the coronavirus outbreak.

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More Floridians became eligible for vaccinations on Monday when the state lowered the minimum age to 40. The requirement will be lowered again on April 5 to include anyone age 18 and over, DeSantis announced last week.

As of Monday morning, 5.6 million doses of the three coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Florida, according to health statistics provided by the Florida Department of Health.

State records show 2.52 million people have received the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-shot dose of Johnson & Johnson. And 3.07 million people have completed the vaccine series.

DeSantis said allowing governments and businesses to require proof of vaccinations would be “an unprecedented expansion” of public and private power.

But the governor seemed to differentiate between COVID-19 vaccinations and requiring parents to show proof to schools that their children have been protected against other infectious diseases such as the measles, which he called “more problematic.”

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSMiami.com Team