The State of Florida will appeal a ruling that allows Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for cruise passengers embarking on ships in Florida ports.
“We disagree with the judge’s legal reasoning and will be appealing to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Prohibition on vaccine passports does not even implicate, let alone violate, anyone’s speech rights, and it furthers the substantial, local interest of preventing discrimination among customers based on private health information,” read a statement from Governor Ron DeSantis’ office.
Norwegian has previously announced 100 percent vaccinated sailings, but Florida has since banned businesses from asking for proof of COVID-19 vaccination, leading to the court showdown in which Norwegian filed suit against the surgeon general for the State of Florida in July.
“When we say the health and safety of our guest crew and communities we visit is our No. 1 priority, we mean it. It is not a slogan nor a tagline,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, on the comp[any’s second quarter earnings call.
“The legal actions we have taken in Florida reflect our deep commitment to resume sailing in accordance with our robust science-backed SailSAFE health and safety protocols,” Del Rio said.
The lawsuit challenged the state’s action of fining businesses that require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of Norwegian’s previously announced August 15 restart from Florida, where the line has promised 100 percent vaccinated sailings.