Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stood strong against un-American vaccine mandates and won an important battle with the cruise line industry.
Royal Caribbean International announced in a press release on Friday that it would comply with the governor’s no vaccine mandate policy, backtracking from their previously-held policy that all passengers must be vaccinated.
The company clarified it will “strongly recommend” its passengers receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but will not require it, the Miami Herald reported.
“Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible,” said the company.
However, other measures, like testing, will be taken to ensure no one aboard has the virus.
“Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date,” Royal Caribbean continued.
The cruise line’s decision to not require the vaccine comes after DeSantis signed a new law fining cruise lines $5,000 each time they ask a passenger to provide proof of vaccination, the outlet added.
Royal Caribbean will resume cruises starting with new ship Freedom of the Seas out of Miami in July, the New York Post reported.
Not all cruise lines are willing to budge on their mandatory vaccine policies, including Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
The company announced Monday that it also plans to resume cruises from Miami later this summer, but will still require all passengers to be fully vaccinated despite DeSantis’ threat of fines, according to South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
DeSantis has not yet said whether he plans to push back on Norwegian’s non-compliance with the new state law. But, if we know anything about DeSantis, we know he’s not one to back down from a challenge, especially when Floridians’ freedoms are on the line.
The governor has taken one of the most liberated approaches to the pandemic after reopening the state far sooner than most others, allowing residents to make the best decisions for their health. He has since vowed to continue to defend this basic American right.