I have never understood the appeal of cruise ships. Hanging out with a thousand strangers in a floating petri dish with hotel furnishings and convention-style entertainment just isn’t my cup of mix margarita. Still, I’ve finally found something to like about the industry.

Last night, Judge Kathleen Williams of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida sharply rapped the knuckles of Gov. Ron DeSantis in a 60-page ruling granting Norwegian Cruise Lines an injunction blocking the governor’s law that prevents businesses requiring proof of vaccination.

From DeSantis’ announcement of his “no vaccine passports” policy, Norwegian has been unflinching in its opposition, threatening in May to skip Florida ports altogether if the governor’s ban was upheld.

It looks like the line will still be serving the Sunshine State, however, with Governor Reaper’s Little Helper losing in both Circuit Court last week and District Court on Sunday night. Following the ruling, the company released a statement reading,

“This order will now allow the Company to operate in the safest way possible with 100% vaccination of all guests and crew when sailing from Florida ports.”

What’s more, Judge Williams’ order gives others challenging the law an excellent argument. While noting Norwegian’s specific need for certificates of vaccination to enter other ports, the judge dismissed the “passport” prohibition on much more general grounds, stating that Florida ““fails to provide a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate.”

The state’s attorney and Surgeon General hinted during a court hearing Friday over the injunction that Florida could take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but I find it doubtful with Court will hear a case with so few merits on the defendants’ side. Should the Court decline or find against the state, Judge Williams’ finding that the Florida law is without “evidentiary, factual or legal predicate” could prove the nail that shuts the coffin on Florida’s vaccine passport ban.

Disclaimer: IANAL

Note: Much discussion in the comments on vaccine documentation, counterfeiting and securing of same. My state is one that offers a state ID app for smart phones which can also include vaccination status verified by the state department of health. Your state may provide a similar service.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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