Florida’s Department of Health announced a list of companies that are under investigation for possibly breaking Florida’s law. According to the agency, Royal Caribbean and also other businesses potentially violated Florida’s law against vaccine passports.
The list of 120 businesses could face a fine of as much as $5,000 per violation. For Royal Caribbean and other businesses that required vaccination, this could potentially reach millions of dollars in fines.
Aside from Royal Caribbean, other companies included in the list are Miami Marlins, AT&T, and Starbucks. There are also other cruise lines included in the list. Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line made it on the list.
Florida’s law against vaccine passports took effect in May 2021. It says that businesses “may not require patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID19 vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or services from the business operations in this state”.
Norwegian and Carnival were among the first cruise lines that decided to still impose proof-of-vaccination requirements despite Florida’s law that bans vaccine passports. Florida Governor press secretary Christina Pushaw said months ago that “No corporation is above the law”.
Breaking Florida’s Law?
So what’s next for the cruise industry that still asked for proof-of-vaccination? Pushaw said that Florida will wait for the decision on the injunction before enforcing the law on the cruise industry. Last week, Florida announced its plan to appeal the decision.
Based on court documents, Florida believes that companies can’t refuse service to customers who failed to disclose medical documents. In Norwegian’s lawsuit, it says that Florida failed to prove why the ban on vaccine passports is necessary.
Conditional Sailing Order
The CDC’s conditional sailing order required cruise ships to meet the 95% vaccination rate among crew members and passengers. Cruises that can’t meet the vaccination threshold will have to run a simulated voyage using volunteer passengers before the actual cruise. With Florida’s law that bans vaccine passports, some cruise operators even considered sailing elsewhere.