Despite threats from Norwegian Cruise Line about pulling out of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has no plans to change his recently announced COVID-19 vaccine orders.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Governor DeSantis responded at a bill signing in Ormond Beach on Thursday to Norwegian’s plans to leave Florida following a state order to stop businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
The United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) announced earlier this month that cruise lines could bypass simulated voyages and move directly to sailing with passengers if 98 percent of its crew and 95 percent of its passengers are fully vaccinated.
“Norwegian’s not one of the big ones, by the way,” DeSantis said during the bill signing. “Cruise lines have been operating in other parts of the world where there’s no access to vaccine. These cruise lines are ready to go: Royal Caribbean, Carnival.”
“At the same time, our state policy is our state policy,” DeSantis continued. “But I can tell you this, if one of the smaller ones says they somehow don’t want that, that niche will get filled in Florida.”
Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio said last week its three brands would move their Florida-based vessels to home ports in other states or even to non-U.S. ports in the Caribbean if they were forced to comply with the new rule.
In April, DeSantis and the state of Florida filed a federal lawsuit to force the government to allow cruising in the U.S., but his stance on banning any form of vaccine passports created an issue with the CDC.
Last month, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy revealed the state had joined Florida’s lawsuit against the CDC as part of an effort to restore cruising in Alaskan waters.
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