The Special Olympics has dropped a planned COVID vaccine mandate for this month’s USA Games in Florida.

Florida has outlawed vaccine mandates and threatened to fine the non-profit $27.5 million. According to Florida’s health department, the Special Olympics would have violated the law 5,500 times if it checked every participant’s vaccine status.

“Delegates who were registered for the Games but were unable to participate due to the prior vaccine requirement, now have the option to attend,” Special Olympics International said in a Friday press release.

The USA Games begin June 5 in Orlando and run through June 12. Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a vocal critic of COVID vaccine mandates and pushed for the Florida law banning them. He applauded the Special Olympics’ decision Friday at a press conference.

“In Florida, we want all of them to be able to compete,” DeSantis said. “We do not think it’s fair or just to be marginalizing some of these athletes based on a decision that has no bearing on their ability to compete with honor or integrity.”

With News Wire Services

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