TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – The CDC and the state of Florida are at a stand-still over cruises and vaccine passports.
For months, Governor Ron DeSantis has been trying to get cruise ships sailing out of Florida again, without the requirement of vaccine passports, despite the CDC’s orders.READ MORE: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Received Funding For A High Visibility Enforcement Initiative
On Thursday, the governor’s office released a statement saying a mediator appointed by the United States District Court declared an impasse between the state and federal government.
At Port Tampa Bay, cruises have not sailed for over a year and cruise planners say the disagreement between the federal government and the state of Florida is making their jobs difficult.
Janice Sinardi, Tampa Cruise Planner, says “For me as well as many of my friends, it’s been a rollercoaster ride.”
Sinardi says the past year has been difficult, trying to help customers without official information about cruise vaccine policies.
“I am making a lot of copies of the different requirements as of today and I preface that as of today these are the requirements are subject to change, so it makes me a little uncomfortable because I am used to be very organized and direct,” said Sinardi.
Back in March of 2020, the CDC issued a “No sail order” for cruise ships and since then issued a phased cruise plan, including requiring 98% of crew members and 95% of passengers to have received the COVID-19 vaccine. This means requiring vaccine passports, something Governor DeSantis says is unlawful.READ MORE: Polk County School Cafeteria Worker Arrested for Murdering Boyfriend
“I appreciate what he did and that support of it, but the suit that’s going on is putting a little bit of a kink in ‘Well do I need to tell them I’m vaccinated or do I not?'” said Sinardi.
The state filed a lawsuit against the federal government back in April. In a statement announcing an impasse between the state and federal government on Thursday, the governor’s office says “The CDC has no excuse for ruining two summers of sailing and it is well past time to end the CDC’s desperate attempt to prolong its power trip over America.”
It says the CDC has no authority to mandate vaccine passports because “Floridians’ medical privacy is protected under Florida law.” The CDC requires 95% of all passengers be vaccinated, but with vaccines not approved for children twelve and under, the governor says the rule is discriminatory.
With the disagreement at a stand-still, Sinardi says her customers are frustrated.
“By booking two months out at a time, two months, changing, cancelling, postponing,” said Sinardi.
But she says she will do everything she can to make cruise planning as smooth as possible for her clients.
“I’m sending emails out letting them know here’s the update on those protocols,” said Sinardi.MORE NEWS: Man Taken Into Custody After Barricading Himself Inside His Home
Sinardi says she is recommending people book their cruises towards the end of 2021 and into 2022. In the meantime, the lawsuit will need to move through the federal court system.