EXCLUSIVE — DeSantis: CDC in Effect ‘Mandating’ a Vaccine Passport for 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

JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said cruise lines will ultimately abide by Florida law banning the use of vaccine passports but explained that they are caught in the middle because of severe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and mandates.

Breitbart News spoke to the governor on Tuesday and asked how his administration plans to respond to reports of cruise lines requiring guests to show proof of vaccination in order to set sail. The CDC recently gave a Celebrity Cruise ship, Celebrity Edge, the green light to set sail from Port Everglades this month, but all guests 16 and older must be fully vaccinated. That requirement conflicts with his recently signed law, which prevents the use of vaccine passports in the Sunshine State.

“Our law that I signed takes effect July 1st. So if something happens at the end of June, that law will not be in effect. Our laws typically take effect July 1st, so that’s just the reality,” he explained, promising the state will ultimately “enforce the law.”

“These cruise lines will abide by Florida law. I know a couple of them have tried to say — trust me, they will abide by Florida law. They have the ability to do it,” he told Breitbart News, placing the blame on the CDC for “effectively” mandating a vaccine passport, referring to it as “discriminatory.”

“It’s the CDC who is mandating, effectively, a vaccine passport which is discriminatory because we have 100 million-plus Americans who have recovered from COVID. They have immunity. Many of them are not getting vaccinated because they’re already immune. So we don’t believe that that’s good policy to allow that,” he said.

The Republican governor emphasized that the seeming tension between the cruise industry and Florida is not black and white, as the CDC is heavily influencing the industry’s decisions.

“Just understand. If the CDC would take their boot off the next of the industry, they would sail from Florida. This is not as much a disagreement between Florida and the cruise lines as it is between [the] CDC. So cruise lines are kind of caught in the middle, because [the] CDC has issued all these mandates saying, ‘OK, you can finally sail, but you got to do all this stuff.’ So they’re in the position where they have the feds coming down on them and saying they have to do it one way,” he explained.

“The state obviously, we don’t have very many restrictions, but we do have protections for individual privacy on this. So that’s what they’re trying to do. We’re in federal court though today, I think we’re going to get a favorable disposition. I believe what you’ll see is the cruise lines sailing out of Florida and following Florida law, and I think we’ll get there,” he continued before criticizing the establishment media.

“But here’s the thing that’s important, because these media narratives are absurd. The media wanted the cruise lines closed the whole time. When I came out and announced the suit, the media said, ‘This is ridiculous,’ all this other stuff. We would not even be having this discussion about cruise lines had we not sued the CDC, because really they don’t have a leg to stand on,” he added.

Again, the Republican governor emphasized that it is not quite accurate to view the conflict as the state of Florida versus cruise lines due to the CDC’s pressure and involvement.

“We win the case or have some sort of mediated agreement where they can cruise. They will absolutely cruise from Florida,” DeSantis promised. “You can bet your bottom dollar on that.”

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