Disney Cruises Under Investigation by Florida Over Vaccine Passports

Disney's cruise line is under review by the state of Florida for potentially violating a controversial law that bans all "vaccine passports." The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney Cruise Line is one of 120 cases currently under review with the Florida Department of Health for potentially violating the recently enacted Senate Bill (SB) 2006, which blocks any any business or government entity in Florida from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination. According to the law, any business found to violate this law will be fined $5,000 per violation. In the case of cruise lines, this potentially means a $5,000 fine per passenger. Disney Cruise Line, which ports in Port Canaveral, recently introduced a requirement that any passenger 12 or older must show proof of vaccination to board one of their ships.

The wrinkle here is that Disney Cruise Line (and other cruise lines) are operating under a federal injunction that blocked the law from taking effect. Norwegian Cruise Line filed a lawsuit shortly after Florida passed its law asking for an injunction, which was granted by a federal judge in August. Despite this injunction, it appears that Florida is pressing forward with investigating Disney and other operators anyways.

Another Disney-related business under investigation is the House of Blues at Disney Springs. The House of Blues also requires either proof of a negative test within 72 hours of an event or a full COVID-19 vaccination to attend a show at the venue. 

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Disney is obviously one of the major employers in Florida, with 57,000 employees at Walt Disney World alone. The company also has the clout and resources to battle back should Florida attempt to enforce their law. Any attempt to enforce the vaccine passport law will almost certainly set up a series of high-profile lawsuits, especially as the federal government is mulling its own vaccine requirements for any business with more than 100 employees. Public health officials and medical experts are almost universally in agreement that vaccines are one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.