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CEO: Norwegian Cruise Line could suspend departures from Florida over vaccine passport law

CNN – The CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said Thursday that Florida’s new vaccine passport law could cause the company to suspend departures from the state.

“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,” CEO Frank Del Rio said during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

Last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning the use of COVID-19 passports in the state. The order prohibited any government entity from issuing vaccine passports and blocks businesses from requiring any such documentation. Senate Bill 2006 was signed into law Monday making that executive order official.

“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,” DeSantis said.

In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it will not allow cruise lines to resume normal operations unless at least 98% of crew members and 95% of passengers have been vaccinated.

“It is a classic state versus federal government issue,” said Del Rio. “Lawyers believe that federal law applies.” He added that the company has been in talks with the governor’s office but did not specify what was discussed.

DeSantis noted that vaccine passports would create freedom and privacy concerns, in addition to creating ‘two classes of citizens based on vaccinations.” His order specified that many Floridians have not yet had the opportunity to obtain a vaccine, while some may have infection-acquired immunity, and other people may be unable to get a COVID-19 vaccine because of health, religious or other reasons.

“Individual COVID-19 vaccination records are private health information and should not be shared by a mandate,” DeSantis’ executive order had read.

But, Del Rio’s company plans to stick to the CDC’s vaccination guidelines. “At least in the beginning, 100% of our guests and our crew will be vaccinated,” Del Rio said. “I think everyone should be wanting to start cruising in the safest possible manner.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. operates three cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Represenatives for the company and the governor did not immediately return CNN’s request for comment.

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The post CEO: Norwegian Cruise Line could suspend departures from Florida over vaccine passport law appeared first on NBC2 News.

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