Norwegian Cruise Line Threatens to Avoid Florida over Vaccine Passport Ban

Florida’s law banning businesses from inquiring if workers or customers have received the coronavirus vaccine may pose a challenge for its cruise industry.

On Thursday, the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said it may cause the company to suspend its Florida departures and move ships to other ports, WYFF reported.

“At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders, and God forbid we can’t operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from, and we can operate from the Caribbean for a ship that otherwise would have gone to Florida,” Frank Del Rio commented during a quarterly earnings call.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the legislation Monday banning the use of vaccine passports in the state.

“In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision,” the governor said.

Dr. Jay Wolfson, who is a USF Health professor and lawyer, told Fox 13 cruise companies cannot afford to lose additional money and may view Florida’s ban as a risk they do not want to take.

“If a private corporation wants to have requirements and if people don’t want to meet those requirements, they don’t have to use the product. It’s that simple. This is not an essential product,” Wolfson commented.

Norwegian is reportedly planning to require passengers and crew be vaccinated.

However, lawyers said there is a possibility the situation could go to court.

“There’s the question of whether the CDC rules, guidelines will trump the Florida laws that’s called preemption, it happens throughout history. We’ll see who wins, the feds or the state,” Wolfson explained.

Cruise lines including Carnival and Royal Caribbean have not yet announced requirements for vaccines to sail in the United States, the Fox article read.

“The CDC said companies can participate in test voyages with volunteers to skip the agency’s vaccination rule for nearly everyone on the ships,” the outlet concluded.

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