“We are going to enforce Florida law,” DeSantis said Friday, days after Celebrity Cruises announced its clearance from the CDC to set sail. However, all guests 16 and over will not be permitted to board the Celebrity Edge unless they are “fully vaccinated.” Celebrity Cruises plans to lower the age threshold to 12 and over beginning August 1, 2021.
Per CDC guidelines, nearly all crew members and passengers aboard cruise ships should be vaccinated.
“CDC recommends that all eligible port personnel and travelers (passengers and crew) get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to them,” the CDC states.
However, earlier this month, Gov. DeSantis signed a bill, Senate Bill (SB) 2006, banning the use of vaccine passports in the Sunshine State.
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“In Florida, 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,” the governor said at the time.
On Friday, DeSantis vowed that his administration will enforce the law in the Sunshine State.
“You don’t pass laws and then not enforce them against giant corporations. It doesn’t work that way,” DeSantis said.
“What the CDC has done closing the cruise industry for over a year, 15 months, 14 months almost, they do not have the authority to do it,” he added, repeating his criticisms of the government agency.
Despite the warnings this week, a Celebrity Cruises spokesperson suggested they plan to proceed with their plans, requiring guests to show proof of vaccination.
“We are working to finalize our health and safety measures for cruises departing from U.S. ports, including Florida, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as local authorities in the U.S. and destinations we visit,” Celebrity spokesperson Susan Lomax said in a statement to USA Today.
“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 statement added.