Oh ship. Get ready for cruise ships with people not vaccinated against Covid-19. That’s what you can see as soon as next month’s Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is still a public health emergency. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?
Royal Caribbean International has announced plans to begin sailing six of its cruise ships out of South American ports in July and August. The first to sail will be the ship “Freedom of the Seas” off Miami, Florida, on July 2nd. The company had originally required guests 18 years and older to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and provide proof of vaccination aboard their ships. However, the cruise ship company has now made a “one boat” face, so to speak. As Taylor Doven reported Miami Herald, The Royal Carribean issued a statement on Friday saying, “Guests are strongly advised to put sails fully vaccinated if they are eligible. Those who have not been vaccinated or are unable to verify vaccination should undergo testing and follow other protocols that will be announced at a later date. ”
Highly recommended is certainly different from required. When you strongly recommend wearing proper clothing for a business meeting, technically speaking, the slingshot mankini is still fair game. But there is an important difference between wearing a slingshot mankini and being fully vaccinated. It is typically quite obvious if someone has a slingshot mankini. After all, rarely can you hear someone ask, “is that person wearing a full suit or just a harness? It’s hard to tell. “On the other hand, you can not really tell if anyone has been vaccinated unless you actually see the person’s Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card and somehow verify that it is not a fake. Once you are on a cruise ship, how can you then tell who should follow additional precautions such as. To wear face masks and become at least 6 feet or a Denzel (because Denzel Washington is about 6 feet tall) away from others?
Why the change in Royal Caribbean policy? Well, here’s what Dolven tweeted:
Apparently, Dolven is referring to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who recently signed a law banning Covid-19 “vaccine passes.” That means on July 1, the Florida state government could fine a cruise ship operator $ 5,000 each time the cruise ship operator requires proof of vaccination to use their services. Assuming you have hundreds or even thousands of people on your cruise ships, a quick calculation with fingers and toes will show that despite this order from the Florida state government, it could quickly put you out of business. So the Florida government is essentially not allowing companies to do anything that can help protect their customers and staff?
Without very high vaccination rates among passengers and crew members, it can be difficult for a cruise ship to prevent the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) once the virus has made it on board. After all, huge amounts of open space may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to cruise ships. SARS-CoV2 is still spreading actively in the United States and in different parts of the world. This includes more infectious variants that now have sorority and fraternity-sounding names that I recently covered for Forbes. Therefore, the chances of someone bringing the virus aboard a cruise ship are still quite high.
About half of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated, meaning many are still unvaccinated. Now it is not clear whether the unvaccinated half may be more or less likely to drive cruise ships. If they are more likely, you could easily end up on a ship where less than half of the passengers are fully vaccinated. Plus, while the Covid-19 vaccine provides strong protection against Covid-19, it is not like a concrete full-body condom (which by the way is not good to wear during sex.) The vaccine is not perfect. You can still get Covid-19 after being fully vaccinated, although your chances are much lower compared to those who have not been vaccinated.
All of this has led to a large number of tweets using the words “petri dish.” E.g:
Think back to February 2020 just before the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak officially became a pandemic. Where was one of the first places where SARS-CoV2 outbreaks were noticed? Here’s a tip. The answer rhymes with “Tom Cruise lips”, “kangaroo hips” and “too much booze slips.” Yes, cruise ships, as Victoria Forster described Forbes in March 2020.
The new Florida law could leave companies like cruise lines trapped between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, no companies want to pay out $ 5,000 (equivalent to at least 2,500 hot dogs) per day. Customer just for that. On the other hand, a single Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak could end up costing a cruise ship company a lot, including reputational damage. Requiring passengers to be fully vaccinated would be one of the best ways to prevent an outbreak. It is not great PR to be known as the place where the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak occurred unless you are specifically running a cruise for viruses who want to have a nice human buffet available. And it could, so to speak, be a real shipping storm.