A federal judge ruled that Norwegian Cruise Line can require passengers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination despite Florida’s ban on vaccine passports.
U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams says that the ban compromises public health and is unconstitutional.
In a statement, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president said, in part, “We welcome today’s ruling that allows us to sail with 100% fully vaccinated guests and crew, which we believe is the safest and most prudent way to resume cruise operations amid this global pandemic.”
Norwegian Cruise Line will resume activity on August 15, 2021.
In March of last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) enacted a “No Sail” order.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sued the federal government in April of this year, saying he didn’t “believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for over a year based on very little evidence and very little data.”
A federal judge ruled that the CDC could not enforce COVID-19 restrictions on cruise ships and removed the injunction in June.
However, in the interim, DeSantis signed an executive order banning companies from being able to require proof of vaccinations or “vaccine passports.”
Norwegian sued the state in July, saying, “If Florida’s ban stands, then the only way NCLH can require vaccine documentation and maximize safety, comfort, and confidence would be by forgoing operations in Florida. That would be a tragedy for all concerned.”
“We are pleased that Judge Williams saw the facts, the law and the science as we did and granted the company’s motion for a preliminary injunction allowing us to operate cruises from Florida with 100% vaccinated guests and crew,” Daniel S. Farkas, Executive Vice President of Norwegian Cruise Line, said.
The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is responsible for more than half of new infections in the United States. Florida is currently the epicenter of the pandemic, responsible for 1/5 of all new cases in the United States.
The cruise line says that Desantis issued the ban to score political points.
Norwegian Cruise Line vows to protect its customers and operation “in the safest way possible, with 100% vaccination of all guests and crew when sailing from Florida ports.”