MIAMI (AP) – Norwegian Cruise Line is challenging a new Florida law that prevents cruise lines from requiring passengers to show proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Miami on Tuesday, argues the law compromises the safety of cruise ship operations by increasing the risk of contracting the virus. Norwegian intends to resume cruises from Florida ports on August 15 with mandatory vaccinations for all passengers.
Norwegian wants a judge to lift the ban by Aug.6. The law imposes a fine of $ 5,000 each time a cruise line requires a passenger to provide proof of vaccination. The Norwegian claims he violates federal law and several constitutional rights.
The company, officially known as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings or NCLH, says it won’t be able to sail from Florida unless a judge acts to block the law.
“The result would be a devastating and irrecoverable loss for everyone – not only for the business of NCLH, but also for the tens of thousands of passengers, employees and stakeholders who all benefit from the resumption of safe NCLH operations. as expected, ”says the trial.
“The only way for NCLH to maintain its protocols and operations as currently planned is to completely abandon Florida,” adds the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names the Florida surgeon general, Dr. Scott Rivkees, who heads the state’s health department, as accused. Rivkees is an individual appointed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose spokeswoman said cruise line policy discriminates against children under 12 and those who are not vaccinated.
DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw noted in an email that Florida recently won a lawsuit challenging several cruise industry regulations imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the COVID pandemic. 19.
“Florida has already fought and won its case so that Norwegian and all the other cruise lines can invite and serve all Americans on their ships,” said Pushaw. “But apparently Norwegian prefers CDC channels to the freedom Florida offers. “
The CDC is appealing this earlier ruling from a federal judge in Tampa.
Other cruise lines, including Carnival and Royal Caribbean, have already started trips from Florida with various policies regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
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