Texas Cruise Ships Could Run Aground
Carnival Cruise Line confirmed on June 7, 2021, its plans to return to guest operations from Port of Galveston in Texas on July 3rd. However, Carnival's revised vaccine policy may conflict with the State of Texas.
Carnival Cruise stated in a press release, 'guests who have received their final dose of a U.S. FDA Authorized COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination, following current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), may board their ship.
"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."
"As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during July 2021 with vaccinated guests," commented Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
Carnival's plans may need to be modified since Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed Senate Bill 968 on June 7, 2021.
This legislation includes a clause that 'bans businesses from requiring proof of the vaccine from their customers.'
Businesses may still implement “COVID-19 screening and infection control protocols under state and federal law to protect public health,” according to the new law.
In reaction, Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen notified the Houston Chronicle on June 8th, “The law provides exceptions for when a business is implementing COVID protocols per federal law, which is consistent with our plans to comply with the U.S. CDC’s guidelines.”
“We are evaluating the legislation."
On May 5, 2021, the CDC released the next phases of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (originally issued October 30, 2020) for cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in U.S. waters.
As of June 8, 2021, the State of Texas a very low SARS-CoV-2 inflection rate (<3%) and an increasing rate of COVID-19 vaccinations (23m+).