Cruise Lines’ COVID Vaccination Requirement For Passengers In Florida Is Approved By A Judge
A federal judge has directed that guests must provide confirmation of a COVID-19 vaccination before entering any of Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships in Florida.
The United States’ decision Despite a Florida legislation approved in May fining businesses that require proof of such vaccines, District Judge Kathleen Williams in Miami has granted Norwegian’s request for a preliminary injunction.
The bill, championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, penalizes businesses that ask customers to verify they’ve been immunized against the coronavirus with a $5,000 punishment each infraction.
In her judgment, Williams stated that Norwegian’s contention that Florida’s so-called “vaccine passport” restriction endangers public health and infringes on the cruise line’s First Amendment rights would likely succeed in court.
Williams’ decision also authorizes Norwegian to resume service from Miami for the first time since the epidemic taken a toll on the cruise industry from March 2020. Norwegian Cruise Lines is one of several cruise lines that operate out of Florida ports.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ president and chief executive officer, Frank Del Rio, said in a statement on Sunday that the firm is pleased with Williams’ decision. “It allows us to sail with fully vaccinated guests and crew,” he said, “which we believe is the safest and most prudent way to resume cruise operations amid this global pandemic.”
As the delta variety spreads across the country and around the world, confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Florida are at an all-time high. On Sunday, about one out of every four hospital beds in Florida had a COVID-19 patient.
Despite this, DeSantis continues to oppose broader coronavirus limitations, such as mask requirements.
Norwegian said it follows a strict vaccination policy for all travelers in every port it visits around the world.
In order to provide what Norwegian feels is the safest experience for travelers, the company is depending on “robust science-backed health and safety protocols” in which vaccines are the “cornerstone”
Despite the ongoing global pandemic and the most recent outbreak in Florida, the state refused to allow Norwegian to apply its vaccine documentation rule. After failing to reach a deal with officials on vaccine requirements, the firm launched a lawsuit in July against Florida’s Surgeon General and the head of the state’s Department of Health.
The Surgeon General and the Florida Department of Health have yet to comment on the judge’s decision.
According to court records, the corporation argues that the suspension in operations during the pandemic has cost Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which manages the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, more than $6 billion.
The first Norwegian Cruise Line sail out of Florida since the epidemic crippled operations last year is set to depart Miami on Aug. 15.