U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams of the state’s southern district of Florida issued an order Sunday allowing Norwegian Cruise Line to require passengers to prove they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19, despite a state ban that prohibits companies from adopting such measures.
Norwegian Cruise Line asked a federal judge to block a Florida law prohibiting cruise companies from demanding that passengers show written proof of coronavirus vaccination before they board a ship.
Norwegian officials have previously stated the “vaccine passport” ban, signed into law in May by Gov. Ron DeSantis, jeopardizes the health and safety of passengers and crew and is an unconstitutional infringement on the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee, among other things.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is pleased to report that today Judge Williams ruled in our favor granting a preliminary injunction which paves the way for the Company’s three brands to require documentation confirming a guest’s vaccination status prior to boarding. This order will now allow the Company to operate in the safest way possible with 100% vaccination of all guests and crew when sailing from Florida ports. Nothing takes priority over the health and safety of the Company’s guests, crew and the communities visited and our commitment to them is paramount. The Company’s first sailing from Florida is scheduled on August 15, 2021on Norwegian Gem departing from Miami.A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings released the following statement
The decision, which is preliminary and will remain in effect as the company pursues a permanent ruling, comes a week before its first scheduled departure in more than a year.
DeSantis has said that the law was aimed at protecting Floridians’ “personal choice regarding vaccinations” and that no business or government agency “will be able to deny you services based on your decision.”