Cruise line CEO says ships may avoid Florida over COVID-19 passport ban

Source: The Hill | May 7, 2021 | Sarah Polus

The CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is hinting that Florida’s new ban on COVID-19 passports may force his company to take its business elsewhere, CNN reported on Friday.

“At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders, and God forbid we can’t operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from, and we can operate from the Caribbean for a ship that otherwise would have gone to Florida,” Frank Del Rio reportedly said during the company’s quarterly earnings call Thursday.

Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an executive order prohibiting businesses from requesting proof of coronavirus vaccination.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance allowing cruise ships to began trial runs with volunteer passengers after being shut down for a year due to the pandemic.

After a successful trial is completed, the cruise line can apply for a COVID-19 conditional sailing certificate, allowing them to conduct regular business with paying customers.

Trial trips can be skipped, however, if at least 95 percent of passengers and at least 98 percent of crew members are vaccinated. 

Florida’s ban on providing vaccination proof could thus hinder cruise ships’ ability to restart trips.

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