• Tom Drake

DeSantis Pushes Back on Celebrity Requiring Vaccinations

In an unusual move, his spokesperson spoke for him.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis who usually does all the talking himself, chose to have his office speak for him in responding to Celebrity Cruise Line's decision to require guests for their upcoming June 26 cruise to be vaccinated.

Late Thursday, the Governor's office reaffirmed his position that it would be illegal for any business to ask if a person has been vaccinated. The Governor's office said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis believes that Celebrity's requirement that 95 percent of all passengers over 16 be fully vaccinated "violates the spirit" of an executive order he issued barring "vaccine passports," as well as a state law that goes into effect July 1. If the cruise line, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Group, follows through, it will be "subject to a fine of $5,000" for each customer asked to show vaccination status.

Celebrity spokeswoman Susan Lomax told USA today, "The CDC requires that 95 percent of cruise ship passengers and 98 percent of crew members be fully vaccinated on non-volunteer cruises, and Celebrity said it plans to stick with those rules. "Our commitment to sail with fully vaccinated crew members and guests still stands, as it is a meaningful layer to ensure we make every effort to help keep safe our guests, crew, and the communities we visit."

The Press Secretary for the Governor also weighed in and argued it's "discriminatory, unethical, and harmful for society" to require that cruise ship passengers be vaccinated, and "not only violates civil liberties, but also discriminates against families with children who enjoy vacations." The CDC has "no legal authority" to set requirements for cruise lines, she said.

The State of Florida recently sued the CDC, challenging its authority to regulate the cruise history. That lawsuit is currently in mediation, and that lawsuit seems to make this situation ironic since it certainly seems like the Governor himself is trying to regulate the cruise industry himself.

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