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Norwegian Cruise Line ship "Norwegian Spirit"

Photo by Piergiuliano Chesi (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In Florida, far-right Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill that bans businesses from requiring that customers show proof that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19. And Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, according to the Associated Press, is threatening to keep its ships out of Florida ports because of it.

Federal health officials, in their guidelines, have recommended that most passengers and crew members be vaccinated on cruise ships that enter U.S. waters. And Norwegian believes that Florida's law does not follow that recommendation.

Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, told AP, "It is a classic state-versus-federal-government issue. Lawyers believe that federal law applies and not state law, but I'm not a lawyer. And we hope that this doesn't become a legal football or a political football."

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' corporate office is in Miami. But Del Rio has said that Norwegian cruise ships "that otherwise would have gone to Florida" could go to other U.S. states or the Caribbean instead — although the CEO also said, "We certainly hope it doesn't come to that."

AP reporter David Koenig notes, "Last month, DeSantis signed an order banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination and prohibiting state agencies from issuing so-called vaccine passports that document COVID-19 vaccinations and test results. This week, he signed legislation that includes the provision about businesses and gives him power to overrule local measures related to the pandemic, such as mask mandates."

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