SURFSIDE, Fla. – More cruise lines are getting ready to set sail soon, but they still face a big battle in Florida over vaccinations.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in South Florida for a bill signing on Monday, and afterwards while walking through a sea of supporters, came a cruise question, as the state’s $8 billion cruise industry prepares to re-launch from a year of a pandemic shut down.
Asked by Local 10 News’ Glenna Milberg if there was a workaround for the cruise industry to begin without violating his orders, the governor gave this response:
“The question is CDC’s orders and we’re challenging CDC. That hearing went very well for us and I think we’re going to be successful when the judge rules.”
The governor has asked a judge to halt the CDC’s vaccination requirements for cruise passengers. He also banned companies from requiring proof of vaccination. That left Florida-based cruise lines, and the 600,000 people whose livelihoods depend on it, charting a course through complicated waters.
“I think what’s gonna happen is, the CDC is going to get peeled back,” DeSantis said. “They’re going to have the ability to sail. They’re going to be able to sail consistent with Florida law. They all tell us they are ready to go.”
Companies are ready and heavily booking.
Celebrity plans to sail from Fort Lauderdale on June 26, the first post-pandemic departure in the United States.
Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise Line both say they will require vaccines, which, in Florida, could come with a $5,000 fine for each passenger they ask for proof.
“Remember, had I not brought this suit, nothing would be happening right now,” DeSantis said. “It was totally dead. CDC wasn’t budging. But we lit a fire.”