Florida CEO Ron DeSantis is in danger of colluding with one of the state's largest industries over a bill that prohibits businesses from asking customers if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The sailors, who come out of the major ports in southern Florida, say the order will make it harder for them to return safely to the sea, which could put a major economic driver at risk for the government.
The GOP, under the influence of former President Donald Trump, has followed cultural wars that attack its foundation by undermining traditional values, such as free market capitalism, and DeSantis, who is considering a presidential bid in 2024, while others begin to fight companies that claim to undermine American values.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the authorities on Wednesday the start of a cruise resume project for the first time in more than a year after large ships became one of the first areas distributed by the coronavirus.
With a population the size of small towns integrated into residential areas, sailing ships are at high risk for the spread of the virus. So in line with the CDC's directive to keep passengers and crew safe, many cruise ships demand that almost everyone on board be fully vaccinated.
But that would be illegal in Florida, the center of the American shipping industry, under a DeSantis law signed this month banning businesses from discriminating against uninvited customers.
"In Florida, your choice of vaccine will be protected, and no business or government agency will be able to deprive you of services based on your decision," DeSantis said of the law, which included high-level directives.
Florida CEO Ron DeSantis speaks to reporters about the tourism industry at a press conference in PortMiami on April 8. Joe Raedle / Getty Images file
The law is the last thing the tourism industry needs, says tourism industry analyst Patrick Scholes, managing director of Truist Securities, as they try to reassure passengers that it is safe to return to all diners within 15 months.
"It's been a year of migraines and tooth decay in the tourism industry. Now, they're finally ready to start over, and you have a Florida manager basically playing chicken game with them," Scholes said.
The dispute could end in court, as the boat industry claims that state law does not apply to it because of corporate laws. In the meantime, companies may decide to go ahead with their plans to pursue policies, even if that means breaking the law in Florida.
"It would be even cheaper for them to just fine," Scholes said. "They burn millions of dollars a day and their ships do not work."
Florida, the largest tourist destination in the US, is home to the headquarters and major infrastructure for major navigation routes, including Norway, whose manager said the Miami-based company may have to withdraw its ships due to the vaccine entry requirements.
"We hope this is not just football or political football. But at the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders. And God does not allow us to operate in the state of Florida for any reason, and there are other provinces in which we operate. in the Caribbean on ships bound for Florida, "CEO Frank Del Rio said in a statement on recent profits with investors and analysts.
"We hope that doesn't come to that. Everyone wants to work in Florida. It's a very lucrative market," Del Rio said. "But that's the problem. I can't ignore you. And we hope everyone goes to the same place, and that's when we want to continue sailing safely."
An unnamed cruise industry official warned the industrial newspaper Cruise Week that if Florida's law was suspended, "it would appear to prevent cruises from restarting."
"Why is the governor who supports businesses standing in the way of the most important industries in the province to restart?" asked the manager.
DeSantis, who appears to be the frontrunner in the presidential race if Trump does not run, has been at the forefront of the GOP's transformation into a business-focused message.
He recently signed a law banning social media companies, a direct response from Trump’s allies to websites that have chosen to remove him from their forums. But in one case, he collaborated with the shipping sector and stripped local authorities of power after Key West residents voted overwhelmingly in a survey to limit the size of tourist vessels visiting the island, where the harbor is owned by a major DeSantis donor.
DeSantis, who claims to have been fighting for the maritime industry all this time, has sued the CDC over masking and social guidelines that he says are too strict. Now that he has disputed the industry over the so-called vaccination passports, he says he is not moving.
"We will apply Florida law," DeSantis told reporters Friday, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "I mean, we have a Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens, and we will enforce them."
Covid-19 vaccines have become political. The Republicans are the largest segment of Americans who say they will not be "brought in," says a survey from the non-aligned Kaiser Family Foundation. More than a quarter of GOP voters, 27 percent, said they would reject guns, while a further 9 percent said they would only get them if necessary.