MARCO ISLAND, Fla — The Marco Island City Council conducted its first reading on Monday for an ordinance titled "The Marco Island Health Freedom Bill of Rights." The ordinance aims to prohibit local businesses and the government from enforcing COVID-19 mandates.
The proposed ordinance draws inspiration from existing state law and replicates measures adopted by Collier County last year.
Chairman Greg Folley emphasized the intention to reinforce these regulations at the local level and take a stance as a city.
"We deemed it necessary to conduct an after-action review of the overreach by governments at all levels during the height of the pandemic. We want to put ourselves on record as defenders of liberty, particularly in the healthcare space," stated Chairman Folley.
Folley expressed confidence in the broad support for the ordinance, anticipating unanimous approval by the council.
However, not all residents share the same sentiments.
One local resident, Kaitlin Robinson, voiced concerns to Fox 4 about the council overstepping its boundaries, particularly in regard to private companies.
"I think that businesses should have the first opportunity if that's what they want for their employees, and I think the employees for most of the businesses should have a say whether or not they do want a vaccine," Robinson stated.
Despite such concerns, Chairman Folley defends the council's push, deeming it appropriate to correct what he deemed a negative course of actions taken during the pandemic.
"I think it's taking an appropriate balance because we way overshot it in one direction before," Folley explained.
The Marco Island City Council may conduct a second reading on the ordinance in January. If adopted, the proposed changes will be subjected to voter approval through a referendum scheduled for March.