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Cruise Lines, Starbucks, Harry Styles: Here’s Who Florida Reportedly Could Punish For Violating Its Vaccine Passport Ban

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 11, 2021

Topline

The Florida government could levy hefty fines on more than 100 entities for violating its ban on requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination, the Orlando Sentinel reports, including local governments, organizations, concerts and huge companies like cruise lines, AT&T and Starbucks.

Key Facts

The Florida Department of Health has 120 cases listed as “under review” for potentially going against its policy, according to a document released to the Sentinel in response to a public records request.

The list includes the Miami Marlins and major companies like Live Nation, AT&T, Equinox, Starbucks, Allegiant Airlines (at the St. Petersburg/Clearwater airport only) and AdventHealth.

Florida event venues like the House of Blues and theaters are also named, along with specific events like concerts by Harry Styles, Maroon 5, Zac Brown, David Aldean and Brooks and Dunn.

Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are also listed after the cruise lines issued Covid-19 vaccine mandates, though the state has previously told Forbes it will not pursue charges against them until an appeals court rules on Norwegian Cruise Line’s lawsuit against the state’s vaccine passport ban.

The state is also pursuing potential charges against local governments in Gainesville, Leon County and Orange County, where Orlando is located.

The Florida Department of Health has not yet responded to a request for comment.

What To Watch For

If any companies, governments or organizations are found to have violated the state’s policy, the law stipulates the state can levy fines of $5,000 for each person who was asked for proof of vaccination. That could add up to potentially millions of dollars in fines for even smaller companies, though any company that faces fines could challenge them in court. A federal district court has previously ruled against Florida’s policy in Norwegian’s lawsuit, finding the cruise line should be allowed to require proof of vaccination and Florida “fails to provide a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate” for why its ban on vaccine proof is necessary.

Surprising Fact

The Walt Disney Company requires Covid-19 vaccines for all of its employees—including at Walt Disney World in Florida, which is the largest single-site employer in the U.S.—but only Disney Cruise Line is listed as being under review.

Key Background

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law banning so-called vaccine passports in May, and said in September his administration intended to issue fines on any local governments that impose vaccine mandates. The Florida law stops companies from requiring proof of vaccination but does not ban requiring vaccinations themselves, only saying companies must not require people to provide documentation of their vaccination. The Sentinel’s report on which entities are under investigation comes after Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said in late September his office had received a letter from the state that suggested it was moving forward with fines. The state health department argued the county’s vaccine mandate was a “discriminatory policy” that “infringes upon the fundamental rights and privacies of Floridians,” even though any worker that violates the policy by not getting vaccinated will only face a written reprimand and will not be fired. Demings said the county would challenge the state in court over any punishments levied against it.

Further Reading

Florida ‘vaccine passport’ probes target Harry Styles concert, library, counterterrorism squad (Orlando Sentinel)

Florida Moves Forward With Punishing Local Governments Over Vaccine Mandates (Forbes)

Disney Requires Cruise Passengers To Bahamas To Get Vaccinated Against Covid-19 (Forbes)

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