Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, et al. v. State Surgeon General, No. 21-12729 (11th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., a corporation headquartered in Florida, operates cruise ships that travel around the world. Norwegian requires everyone on board its ships to be vaccinated against COVID-19. To enforce that policy, Norwegian requires its customers to provide proof of vaccination. Florida sought to protect its residents from that kind of discrimination by enacting a statute that prohibits businesses from “requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business operations in Florida.” Norwegian sued Florida’s Surgeon General and moved for a preliminary injunction. The district court entered a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the statute likely violates Norwegian’s right to speak freely.
The Eleventh Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction. The court explained that Florida’s statute is a regulation of economic conduct that only incidentally burdens speech, which does not implicate the First Amendment. And its burdens on interstate commerce do not exceed the benefits of furthering Florida’s substantial interests in protecting its residents from discrimination and invasions of privacy.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on December 22, 2022.