Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has once again reiterated his devotion to freedom as COVID-19 vaccine passports remain a hot-button issue.
DeSantis, now standing firm in opposing cruise ship guidelines requiring passengers to provide proof of vaccination, remains determined to enforce Florida’s new law banning vaccine passport requirements.
“We are going to enforce Florida law,” DeSantis said during a news conference on Friday, according to WPLG-TV. “You don’t say ‘pass laws’ and then not enforce it against giant corporations. That doesn’t work that way.”
Both the executive order and the law, which goes into effect on July 1, supposedly conflict with CDC guidelines stating that cruises may resume under strict health and safety protocols.
They also conflict with Celebrity Cruises’ decision to set sail from Port Everglades with “98 percent of the ship’s crew and 95 percent of its passengers” vaccinated, according to WPLG.
Still, DeSantis remains unwavering in his conviction, saying cruise lines will “break Florida law” if they require proof of vaccination.
“What CDC has done by closing the cruise industry for over a year — 15 months almost, 14 months — they do not have the authority to do it,” the governor said.
Though Florida law may already take a clear stance on the issue, we have yet to see how federal judges will handle the case.
How will this situation unfold exactly?
If cruise lines enforce strict vaccine passport policies, these companies would violate Florida law as it stands.
It’s worth noting, however, that an exemption for cruise lines may possibly be in the works. According to Forbes, a senior vice president of Celebrity Cruises was heard on a Thursday phone call “outlining how DeSantis is working with the largest cruise lines — Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line — to find a workaround.”
The executive reportedly said that the governor’s ban on vaccine passports was initially intended to cover “restaurants, bars, hotels, Disney, places that weren’t cruise ships — because at the time, cruise ships weren’t open yet.”
If a federal judge does decide in Florida’s favor, what happens to these cruise lines? Will they resume business as they did prior to COVID, require masks or other safety protocols or will they relinquish any attempts to return to normalcy?
Perhaps a blow dealt against the Florida law would prove more devastating.
The outcome could lead other businesses to require vaccine passports, thus jeopardizing health privacy and equal access for those wary of COVID-19 vaccines.
If we are to remain champions for personal freedom, health privacy is one of its most fundamental components.
DeSantis has proven time and again that his values remain with the people, their autonomy and their individual liberties above mandates.
It’s time we reiterate the importance of individual liberty, appreciate DeSantis’s willingness to defend it and encourage other governors across the nation to follow suit.
Allowing mandates to determine who can be served at businesses or who can participate in certain activities is the antithesis of individualism and personal decision-making.
After all, those who are vaccinated should be protected, right?
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