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Biden signs Alaska cruise ship bill, US has no view on Florida vaccine passport ban

PHOTO: WHITE HOUSE CRUISE_Biden_signs_Alaska_bill.jpg
President Biden signs the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act. Looking on, from left, Sen. Dan Sullivan, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young
President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bill enabling foreign-flag cruise ships to operate in Alaska this summer.

With him were the bill's co-sponsors, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young, all representing Alaska.

Their Alaska Tourism Recovery Act is 'a positive, in our view, because it helps reinvigorate industry that accounts for a great number of jobs, and jobs that have been on hold for the past year plus,' White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during her earlier daily news conference. She added this is critical in a state where one in 10 jobs depends on tourism.

'Hundreds of Alaska’s small business owners, who have put their savings, their hopes and their dreams into their businesses, were on the brink of ruin as a result of the pandemic and the fact that our short cruise ship season was about to be canceled again,' Sullivan said. 'Alaska’s congressional delegation has been working for months on a solution. The bill that President Biden signed today will at long last bring our small business owners hope.'

Florida vaccination passport ban

During the White House briefing with Psaki, a reporter noted COVID-19 vaccination is one of the reasons cruises will be able to restart between Washington state and Alaska, however Florida bans vaccination passports.

Psaki said the administration has no view on Florida's stance and reiterated the Biden administration has no plans to institute a vaccination passport at the federal level.

'We certainly understand that industies will make their own decisions,' she said, sidestepping the fact that the reporter's question related to Florida's policy, not the cruise industry's.