LAKELAND, Floride – Gov. Ron DeSantis is not deviating from his anti-vaccination stance on the “passport” as a cruise line has received federal approval to depart from a Florida port next month, so passengers and members of the crew are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, the governor maintained that Florida will not exempt cruise passengers from a new law, which comes into effect on July 1, which imposes a fine of $ 5,000 for each guest asked to provide proof. vaccination against the coronavirus.
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DeSantis said he also expects the state to win his lawsuit challenging federal restrictions that have slowed the cruise ship industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re going to apply Florida law,” DeSantis told reporters Friday at the LifeScience Logistics Distribution Center in Lakeland. “I mean, we have Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens, and we will enforce them. In fact, I have no choice but to apply it.
DeSantis, who enacted the “passport” bill on May 3, also said that “we have provided vaccines to many of their workers,” referring to the cruise industry.
“No one has fought more than me, not just for cruises, but the entire leisure and hospitality sector of this state in its history,” said the Republican governor, who is seeking re-election to his post next year.
Celebrity Cruises, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Group, has obtained approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and could begin operating from Port Everglades by the end of June. The approval requires that 100 percent of crew members and 95 percent of passengers be vaccinated. Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday has given state and federal prosecutors until Tuesday to settle the Florida lawsuit challenging the cruise restrictions.
Lawyers for both sides held a settlement conference on Thursday and are expected to meet again on Tuesday, according to court documents. DeSantis, a Yale Law School graduate, said on Friday that the mediation process is currently underway.
“You know, maybe there will be a resolution,” he said. “My point of view is, at the end of the day, that we wanted to defend the immediate interest of the state with this. But there is a more important point, and I am convinced that we will win the case. ”
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, backed by DeSantis, filed a lawsuit last month challenging the CDC’s restrictions. The state pointed out, in part, the economic impact on Florida and argued that the CDC had exceeded its legal authority with the restrictions. Lawyers for the US Department of Justice argued that the federal government has long had the power to regulate ships to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and that Florida lacks “legal standing” to pursue the case.