Federal Judge Sides With Norwegian Cruise Line, Issues Injunction Against Florida Law

Cruise ship in the ocean during sunset


A Miami-based federal judge granted a request from Norwegian Cruise Line and has issued a preliminary injunction blocking a Florida law banning vaccine passports.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the law after this past Spring’s legislative session, which says no business operating in Florida may require customers or patrons to prove they are vaccinated against COVID.

Norwegian applauded the move and said they are glad they can operate in the “safest way possible.”

“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,” a spokesperson for Norwegian said on Sunday. “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, 2021 on Norwegian Gem departing from Miami.”

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams, who ruled on the issue, said the state did not “provide a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate” to justify the ban. Williams continued by saying the overall public health could be at risk if the vaccine passports were banned.

DeSantis has been insistent throughout the pandemic he will not be supporting statewide mask mandates, going back into lockdowns, or requiring Floridians to prove they are vaccinated in order to participate in the public sphere.

However, President Joe Biden, Democrats, and some Republican colleagues have begun coercing vaccinations by saying the recent spike in COVID positive cases is a result of a  “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

DeSantis has maintained such discussions are “judgmental stuff.”

“When somebody contracts a highly transmissible airborne virus, they’re viewed as having done something wrong,” DeSantis said. “And that’s just not the way you do it when people come in, you treat them. Are you going to sit there and criticize, or are we going to try to treat, and try to help the folks? Nobody’s trying to get ill here.”

Peter Patterson, an attorney representing the State of Florida and Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, said they may take the issue over vaccine passports and the lawsuit against Norwegian all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 

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