As COVID numbers decline and more people get vaccinated against the deadly pandemic, more activities open up. Cruising was on a 15-month pause thanks to COVID-19. Now though, Celebrity Cruises has been hard at work, planning to open their ships again in June. However, their vaccination-proof requirements (as recommended by the CDC) were not well-accepted by Governor DeSantis.
This article explains the recent announcement by Celebrity Cruises, the requirements set forth, and the reaction from Florida government officials, such as DeSantis.
Celebrity Cruises Announced Their June Return and Requirements
After some much-needed guidance from the CDC, Celebrity Cruises announced their plans to resume cruises as early as June. However, due to COVID, resuming their services comes with some modifications. After some debates and discussions, Celebrity Cruises decided to collaborate with the CDC to make their ships as safe as possible.
Here's what they came up with:
- "Reduced" capacity allowing more space (and luxury) for passengers than traditionally tightly-packed ships would allow
- All crew must be vaccinated
- All passengers 16 and older must be vaccinated and provide proof (12 and older after August 1st)
Obviously, the requirement of vaccination has met a significant amount of backlash from both the public and the Florida government.
DeSantis Says No Passports
Governor DeSantis has been anti-vaccine passports since the COVID vaccines became available to the public. He has made it clear that he believes that requiring people to be vaccinated to participate in activities (such as cruising) is both a violation of their medical rights and records and unconstitutional.
Therefore, it's no surprise here that DeSantis has fought back against Celebrity Cruises' announcement with a fury.
According to DeSantis, Celebrity Cruises' requirement for passenger vaccination violates both Emergency Order 21-81 (which stated that vaccine passports were not allowed) as well as a new Florida law effective July 1st, SB 2006 (which also bans vaccine passports).
Governor DeSantis stated in a recent announcement that he plans to uphold that law, which would include a $5,000 fine for each instance that the law is violated, meaning each time that a vaccination passport is required. DeSantis seems unwilling to budge.
"We look forward to seeing Celebrity Cruises set sail in compliance with Florida law." - DeSantis
Will Cruising Resume in June?
Obviously, if Celebrity Cruises chooses to ignore the emergency order and then the new law, they could wrack up millions in fines. Some cruise lines have threatened to move out of Florida given the laws banning vaccination passports. As of right now, it's unknown what Celebrity Cruises will do in response to DeSantis's announcement.
Will they resume cruising in compliance with the emergency order and law? Will they postpone cruising? Or will they fight back?