DeSantis: Florida Will Not Relent on ‘Vaccine Passport’ Ban
'The problem is the CDC. The problem is not Florida'
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned his state would not back down on its ban on “vaccine passports,” despite pressure from the state’s $8.1 billion cruise industry.
DeSantis said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) conditional-sale order update, which requires 95% of cruise ship passengers and 98% of the crew be vaccinated, and ships undergo 60 to 90 days of preparation and test sailing before resuming full operations, is “an absolute farce.”
Meanwhile, the Cruise Line International Association’s (CLIA) and individual cruise lines seek an exemption due to fears few people will want to book a cruise because of vaccination requirements.
DeSantis said the CDC, not Florida, should back down.
“The problem is the CDC. The problem is not Florida,” he said.
“’Oh, by the way, if you’re sunbathing, you have to make sure they’re wearing a mask while they’re sunbathing."
"Are you kidding me?" DeSantis continued.
"That is an absolute farce.
"So, we’re challenging the authority of the CDC to be involved to this extent.”
He added that Florida is pushing the issue because cruise ships will launch elsewhere unless the CDC relaxes its protocols.
“If you don’t let them sail from Florida,” he said, “they’re going to sail from the Bahamas.”
The governor's remarks come days after state and federal attorneys argued in Florida’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the CDC’s conditional-sale order and resume sailing immediately.
The state’s lawsuit argues the order is “unlawful,” outdated, and has left the state’s cruise industry pier-side since last March.
Florida attorneys said the agency's job is to remove public health hazards but not “arbitrarily” shut down an entire industry.
Earlier this week, DeSantis vowed to pardon every Floridian who was charged with breaching restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Appearing on Fox News’s “Ingraham Angle” with host Laura Ingraham, Gov. DeSantis announced live on national television that he would make sure pardons were issued “for any Floridian that may have outstanding infractions for things like masks and social distancing.”
DeSantis also pledged that charges would be dropped against Ingraham's other guests - a husband and wife who had been arrested in their county for keeping their gym open during the coronavirus pandemic.
DeSantis has been warning that criminalizing people for breaking the rules is an overreach by the state since last summer.
"All outstanding fines and penalties that have been applied against individuals are suspended," he said in September.
"I think we need to get away from trying to penalize people for social distancing and just work with people constructively.”