Yesterday evening, Miami federal district court judge Kathleen Williams granted Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ motion for preliminary injunction in its lawsuit filed against Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees in July challenging Florida’s vaccine passports ban.
Florida prohibited businesses in Florida from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccine as a prerequisite for engaging the services of the business. Governor DeSantis has been roundly criticized for the ban which has been viewed as a stunt by the politically motivated governor to appeal to his base of MAGA supporters of the former disgraced ex-president.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings issued a press release Sunday night which stated that the cruise line can now “operate in the safest way possible with 100% vaccination of all guests and crew when sailing from Florida ports.”
You can read the 59 page order in its entirety here.
A federal judge on Sunday ruled to allow Norwegian Cruise Line to require proof of vaccination from passengers despite a Florida law that bans businesses from doing so. https://t.co/2KwqNFe7OR
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 9, 2021
This is a big win for NCLH, loss for DeSantis in ongoing court battle(s) of the titans.
Note: Of 63 ocean cruise ships in U.S. waters or planning to be soon, 27 reported COVID-19 cases on board in the last 7 days, according to CDC.
— Taylor Dolven (@taydolven) August 9, 2021
Judge Williams ruled that Florida failed to “provide a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate” for the ban. The judge also ruled that “scientific research shows that cruise lines are hotbeds for COVID-19 transmission” and that Norwegian “has demonstrated that public health will be jeopardized if it is required to suspend its vaccination requirement.”
Axios noted that DeSantis has blamed the spike on a “seasonal pattern” and “media hysteria,” which are typical talking points which appeal to anti-vaxxers and the MAGA crowd.
COVID-19 cases are currently surging across Florida. DeSantis has largely ignored the medical reality and has bandied around vague notions of “personal freedom” and criticized the Centers for Disease Control an Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Fauci at every opportunity. He has refused to enter a mask mandate as schools in Florida are preparing to open.
— James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) August 8, 2021
I have been critical of NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio over the years. But he has demonstrated a principled attack on Governor DeSantis’ irresponsible and reckless disregard of the cruising public’s health and safety.
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Image Credit: Coolcaesar at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.