Federal, state laws in Florida stir up confusion for cruise lines
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Cruise lines could soon start sailing again, but some have indicated that they may boycott Florida.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, for example, is already threatening to move on from the Sunshine State. There is concern more cruise lines could follow suit. It all comes down to proof of vaccination.
"There has been a lot of confusion, contradiction, hypocrisy with these guidelines," said Stewart Chiron, a cruise industry expert.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said people don’t have to show proof of vaccination but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants 95% of passengers and 98% of all staff to be vaccinated.
"Legal experts would have that: one, federal law would certainly trump state law, and it does provide an exception for a few reasons," Chiron said.
Looking at the new Florida law, it clearly states that any business operating in this state cannot require proof of COVID-19 vaccination, but the second part states this does not hold back government groups from having screening protocols to protect public health. That leaves a grey area.
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Experts say now that people are getting vaccinated, they want to travel. But the CDC holds the key.
"The CDC needs to get on board, work with the cruise industry, come up with realistic expectations and let’s move this forward."
Port Canaveral Capt. John Murray said he thinks the CDC will change their guidelines again by summertime.
"I think by November you will have a whole different rule book. The CDC is changing things daily," Murray said.
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