DeSantis Administration Fires Warning Shot over Requiring Vaccine Passports in the Cruise Industry

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks with fellow patrons before the opening ceremony of the Walker Cup golf tournament, which starts tomorrow, at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., Friday, May 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) administration is standing firm over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) efforts to regulate the cruise industry in the aftermath of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, reiterating that the federal agency “has no legal authority to set any sort of requirements to cruise” and warning cruise ships against requiring vaccine passports.

The DeSantis administration responded to the news of the CDC clearing a Celebrity Cruises ship to set sail out of Port Everglades, making it the “first cruise ship to sail from US waters in more than a year.” The CDC granted the ship permission to do so after it met certain health standard requirements.

“The CDC has no legal authority to set any sort of requirements to cruise,” DeSantis’s office said. “Moreover, the CDC has acknowledged, on record, that the federal government chose not to make a legal requirement for vaccine passports.”

“Now the CDC provides coercive ‘guidance,’ in the absence of any federal law or congressional authorization, requiring cruise ships to violate state law,” his office added.

The statement follows Celebrity Cruises’ announcement of the Celebrity Edge finally getting the green light to set sail next month. However, not just anyone can set sail. All guests 16 and older must be fully vaccinated, and the age requirement will drop to 12 in August [Emphasis original]:

All guests ages 16 years and older must be fully vaccinated with all Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. As of August 1, 2021, all US Guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. For UK residents, all guests 18 and over must be fully vaccinated with all Covid-19 vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. Crew members onboard will be vaccinated.

But earlier this month, DeSantis signed a measure banning the use of vaccine passports in the state.

“Companies doing business in Florida, including Celebrity Cruises, should immediately cease to impose such discriminatory policies upon individuals,” DeSantis said, asserting that companies violating the law will be subject to a $5,000 fine “each time they require a customer to present a ‘vaccine passport’ for service.”

“We look forward to seeing Celebrity Cruises set sail in compliance with Florida law,” DeSantis added.

Upon signing the measure earlier this month, DeSantis emphasized that a Floridian’s personal choice on vaccinations “will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision.”

DeSantis has long stood as a vocal critic of the federal government and its dictates over the cruise industry, announcing a lawsuit against the feds and CDC over cruise industry restrictions in April and blasting its guidance as a “joke”:


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