Florida’s new law may drive away Norwegian from operating in their ports. Florida opposed the use of vaccine passports to enforce vaccination in the state. However, with Florida’s new law, businesses can’t ask customers or employees about their vaccination status.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that he doesn’t want vaccine passports to “create two classes of citizens based on vaccinations”. Though the intention is to provide privacy, this could potentially backfire against the state.
DeSantis signed an executive order that banned the use of COVID19 passports in the state. After which, Senate Bill 2006 turned into law making this executive order official.
DeSantis said that “your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision”.
Norwegian Cruise Line CEO said that this could cause the company to suspend their departures from Florida. CEO Frank Del Rio said that “At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers, and rudders, and God forbid we can’t operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states we do operate from, and we can operate from the Caribbean for a ship that otherwise would have gone to Florida”.
CDC’s New Guidelines
The CDC announced new guidelines for the resumption of sailings in July. This involves trial cruises and other safety measures. However, cruises can skip the trial cruises if 98% of the crew and 95% of the passengers have been vaccinated. But with Florida’s new law, things can get tricky.
DelRio hopes that CDC’s guidelines will override the law that stops businesses from probing a customer or employee’s vaccination status. He calls it a “classic state versus federal government issue”. DelRio added that Norwegian has been discussing with the governor’s office but didn’t specify the issues that have been discussed.
Norwegian’s CEO thinks that the earliest that they can get to sail is in August. As for their choice whether or not to sail in Florida, It depends on whether they can meet CDC’s newest requirements.