4

Abbott To Sign Law Banning Vaccine Passports After Carnival Says It'll Ask For COVID Vaccine Proof

Gov. Greg Abbott said "not so fast" to Carnival's plan to ask Galveston cruise-goers to prove they've been vaccinated.
Gov. Greg Abbott said "not so fast" to Carnival's plan to ask Galveston cruise-goers to prove they've been vaccinated.
Screenshot
^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Gov. Greg Abbott declared via Twitter Monday that he was about to sign a new law forbidding state businesses from asking customers to prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, just a few hours after Carnival Cruise Lines announced that two of its cruise ships would set sail from Galveston in July with only guests who’ve received a coronavirus vaccine on board.

Senate Bill 968 “prohibits any business operating in Texas from requiring vaccine passports or any vaccine,” Abbott wrote on Twitter Monday, before reiterating that “Texas is open 100 %without any restrictions or limitations or requirements.”

When the governor of Texas signs bills into law, they usually don’t go into effect until the following September, but since SB 968 was passed with over two-thirds approval in both the state House and Senate, it will be enacted as soon as it’s signed.

Earlier Monday morning, Carnival issued a press release announcing its plan “to return to guest operations from Port of Galveston'' with the Carnival Vista ship launching on July 3 and the Carnival Breeze ship taking off on July 15. The cruise line said these cruises would only be available “for guests who have received their final dose of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination, in accordance with current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Carnival president Christine Duffy said in a statement prior to Abbott’s announcement that “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,” Duffy continued, “our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests.”

Abbott previously issued an executive order in April forbidding any Texas business or government agency from asking patrons for proof of vaccination. SB 968’s ban goes even further, however, due to the fact that Abbott’s executive order only covered entities that got funding from the state.

When asked about the new law, a representative from Carnival said in a statement that “We are evaluating the legislation recently signed into law in Texas regarding vaccine information.”

“The law provides exceptions for when a business is implementing COVID protocols in accordance with federal law,” the statement continued, “which is consistent with our plans to comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines.”

Given how Abbott’s tweet announcing his intent to sign SB 968 was in response to a question about whether or not Texas would allow Carnival to ask for vaccine proof, it sure seems like he disagrees with the cruise line’s thinking here.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.