Thursday, 10 June 2021 17:34

TX Gov. Signs Bill to Punish Businesses that Require Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination

Written by Karen Brooks Harper, The Texas Tribune


...vaccinated passengers on board, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it will allow the cruise industry to restart on the condition that 95% of crew members and 95% of customers are vaccinated. The CDC shut down cruise lines in March 2020.


Carnival Vista sails out of Galveston on July 3, followed by Carnival Breeze on July 15. It was unclear June 7 how the new Texas law would affect those plans.


“We are evaluating the legislation recently signed into law in Texas regarding vaccine information,” Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen said in an email, according to the Houston Chronicle. “The law provides exceptions for when a business is implementing COVID protocols in accordance with federal law, which is consistent with our plans to comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s guidelines.”


Miami-based Carnival, Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and other cruise companies are still in a standoff with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over restarting their cruises with only vaccinated passengers in spite of new legislation that DeSantis signed in May that bans companies from requiring proof of vaccination from customers.


“We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies; however, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests.”


The Florida law fines the businesses $5,000 for each customer required to do so. Norweigan has threatened to leave Florida if it is fined by the state for complying with CDC guidelines and checking vaccine status of its passengers.


Norwegian said June 7 it would be restarting its cruises from Miami in August with fully vaccinated passengers and crew. The company does not currently operate out of Galveston but plans to start next year.


We thank The Texas Tribune for reprint permission.


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