DeSantis Says He Will Stand Fast on ‘COVID Passport’ Ban, Won’t Cave to Cruiseline Pressure

(USA Features) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he won’t cave to outside pressure and rescind a recent ban on COVID-19 “vaccine passports” even though the cruise line industry, which is a major contributor to the state’s economy, is seeking an exemption.

The Republican governor, speaking in Ormond Beach, said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires that 95 percent of cruise passengers and 98 percent of crew members be vaccinated while noting that cruise liners must embark on 2-3 months’ worth of preparation.

“The problem is the CDC. The problem is not Florida,” he said, describing the agency’s COVID requirements as nonsensical.

“’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? That is an absolute farce,” DeSantis said. “So, we’re challenging the authority of the CDC to be involved to this extent.”

The popular Florida governor has been one of the most vocal opponents of the so-called passports, which many venues and industries are said to be considering even as the pandemic wanes and more Americans are either vaccinated or have the antibodies after coming down with the disease.

Such a requirement, DeSantis and legal groups like the ACLU have argued, would turn the country into a two-tiered culture with those who do not have a vaccine certificate or who have chosen not to get a vaccine denied full participation in society.

DeSantis signed an executive order in early April banning COVID passports, saying that no one should be “required by law” to have one and that “vaccination records are private health information” that shouldn’t be publicly shared via mandate.

But cruise lines are nonetheless seeking an exemption as one of Florida’s major industries. Still, DeSantis believes that the mandate is not necessary.

“We are the number one destination for people who want to come and take cruises,” the governor said. “These cruise lines are ready to go—Royal Caribbean, Carnival—they want to go, they’re going to be able to do it. We’re ready.”

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