PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Howard Lesmeister works at Port Canaveral and he was able to get his coronavirus vaccine on Monday.
“My particular job is cruise ships. I’m fueling them, and I definitely miss it,” Lesmeister said.
Port officials hosted a vaccine event for employees and for workers from surrounding businesses.
“My doctor told me to get it and this happened to be here so this is perfect for me,” Lesmeister explained.
John Ehley used to work at the Radisson Hotel near the port and he’s hoping to get back to work soon once cruise ships start sailing again.
“Now that everyone is getting vaccinated, especially the high-risk people, get the boats back on the water. We need to go back to work,” Ehley said.
Port officials explained getting workers vaccinated is one way to help when cruises return. Port CEO Capt. John Murray believes that could happen as early as August.
“It’s going to take 90 days to get a ship up ready and running and that clock keeps going week by week,” Murray said.
At least one major cruise line, Norwegian, said it’s not sure if it will sail from Florida at all after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning vaccine passports in Florida.
“That’s a state level and that’s between the cruise lines. It’s something we aren’t dealing with at the port level but getting people vaccinated is very important I think when we get a nucleolus of vaccinated guests and crew members, it’s going to be easier for the CDC to lift their strict regulations,” Murray said.
Health officials report 78 out of 700 shots were administered on Monday.