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Tags: desantis | florida | vaccine | passports | cdc | cruise

Cruise Lines, Fla. Gov. DeSantis Heading for Showdown Over Vaccine Passports

ron desantis speaks to press
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference at PortMiami on April 08, 2021, in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 31 May 2021 02:39 PM

Cruise lines that operate out of Florida’s ports are heading for a showdown with Gov. Ron DeSantis over his ban on vaccine passports, reports NBC News.

DeSantis' executive order banning vaccine passports goes into effect July 1. Celebrity Cruises is the first cruise line to receive approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to sail with paying passengers, though that agreement hinges on a requirement that 100% of crew members and 95% of passengers be fully vaccinated.

DeSantis last week said he wasn’t wavering on his ban, telling reporters that cruise lines won’t be exempt from a $5,000 fine per customer asked to provide proof of vaccination.

"We are going to enforce Florida law," DeSantis said Friday at the LifeScience Logistics Distribution Center in Lakeland. "I mean, we have Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens, and we are going to enforce it. In fact, I have no choice but to enforce it."

The Republican governor said, "we provided vaccine for a lot of their workers," referring to the cruise industry. "Nobody has fought harder, not just for cruises, but the entire leisure and hospitality sector in this state in its history than me."

Florida is challenging the cruise restrictions in court.

The state’s lawsuit against the CDC asked the court to declare the agency’s "conditional sail order" to be unlawful on the grounds it is unfair to the $9-billion cruise industry.

"The CDC arbitrarily singled out the cruise industry, and their requirements are unlawful," Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, recently told Forbes via email.

Travel industry analyst Patrick Scholes, managing director of Truist Securities, called DeSantis’ law prohibitive.  

"It has been a year of migraines and kicks in the teeth for the cruise industry. Now, they're finally getting ready to restart, and you have the governor of Florida basically playing a game of chicken with them," Scholes said.

Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio in a recent earnings call with investors and analysts said the Miami-based company might have to pull its ships out of the state because of the restrictions.

"We hope that this doesn't become a legal football or a political football. But at the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers, and rudders," he said. "And God forbid we can't operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from. And we can operate from the Caribbean for ships that otherwise would have gone to Florida.

"We certainly hope it doesn't come to that. Everyone wants to operate out of Florida. It's a very lucrative market," Del Rio added. "But it is an issue. Can't ignore it. And we hope that everyone is pushing in the same direction, which is we want to resume cruising in a safe manner."

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Cruise lines that operate out of Florida's ports are heading for a showdown with Gov. Ron DeSantis over his ban on vaccine passports. DeSantis' executive order banning vaccine passports goes into effect July 1...
desantis, florida, vaccine, passports, cdc, cruise
Monday, 31 May 2021 02:39 PM
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