The state of Florida plans to appeal U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams’ decision to grant the injunction proposed by Norwegian Cruise Line against the law that bans Florida businesses from requiring vaccine documentation for service.

While state attorney Peter Patterson previously stated that they may take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, it will first appeal the ruling in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal, which has previously sided with the state regarding the ban on vaccine passports.

As first reported by Market Watch, a spokeswoman from Governor DeSantis’ office said in a statement regarding Judge Williams’ decision, “We disagree with the judge’s legal reasoning and will be appealing to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.” She added, “A prohibition on vaccine passports does not even implicate, let alone violate, anyone’s speech rights, and it furthers the substantial, local interest of preventing discrimination among customers based on private health information.”

In June, an injunction requested by the state against the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s(CDC) Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) in Florida, was granted by U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday. Included in the CSO is the requirement for cruise lines to have fully vaccinated passengers and employees to set sail.

Following its approval, the CDC appealed to the 11th District Court by requesting a stay against the injunction. Although the court initially granted the stay on July 18th, the court reversed its decision six days later, and denied the CDC’s request. “Without a further stay, the CSO and subsequent CDC instructions now appear to be non-binding guidelines for vessels departing from and arriving to Florida ports,” as stated in the case document.

While the ruling could be appealed by the 11th Court, a spokesperson for Norwegian said, as reported by The Florida Capital Star, “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. Nothing takes priority over the health and safety of the Company’s guests, crew and the communities visited, and our commitment to them is paramount.”

Judge Williams expresses in the ruling that cruise lines will continue to abide by the CDC’s vaccination requirements for passengers, regardless of the law. The online docket states, “All cruise lines operating in Florida have agreed to continue following the CDC order and instructions on a voluntary basis.”

Norwegian’s first voyage since the CSO was issued is scheduled for August 15th.

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to caseyowensreports@gmail.com.
Photo “Florida Cruise Ship” by Ajay Suresh CC2.0.