Florida cruise ships stay docked with no settlement in battle over vaccine passports

U.S. and World

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The State of Florida and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have failed to reach an agreement on cruise guidelines during court-ordered mediation.

Shortly after the federal court mediator made the announcement Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the CDC’s no-sail order should be thrown out altogether.

CDC guidelines released earlier this year allow ships to set sail in summer 2021, if 98% of crew members and 95% of passengers have received the COVID-19 vaccination.

According to Gov. DeSantis, medical privacy is protected by law in Florida. Thus, the CDC cannot require vaccine passports, he says.

On Thursday, the governor’s office also called test cruises a false hope and said it doesn’t guarantee companies will get the green light for the return of paying customers.

“Under this ridiculous requirement, a cruise line could spend millions operating a test voyage, and still not be approved to resume full operations if a bureaucrat at the CDC doesn’t feel good about it that day,” DeSantis’ office said in a statement.

His office also accused the CDC of discriminating against families with children.

“At this time, COVID-19 vaccines are not approved for children under 12, yet the CDC rules would require 95% of all passengers to be vaccinated. Approximately 30% of cruise passengers are children,” the statement said. “It is not possible for families to enjoy a cruise vacation under these unlawful regulations — they would either have to leave their children at home or forego the vacation altogether.”

The impasse leaves future of Florida’s cruise industry hanging in the balance. The lawsuit will make its way through federal court system.

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