Disney Cruise Line will require all passengers 12 and older sailing out of Florida to the Bahamas to be vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming the latest not complying with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mandates.
The company amended its guidelines after the Bahamas updated its COVID-19 emergency declaration last week to forbid ships from entering its ports with passengers who aren’t fully vaccinated. The Bahamas order does not affect passengers under the age of 12.
“Guests who choose not to provide proof of vaccination to meet the requirements of the Bahamas will not be permitted to board the ship,” the company’s website reads. The policy will begin Sept. 3 and last until Nov. 1.
Royal Caribbean, Carnival, MSC Cruises and Celebrity, who all sail out of Florida, have followed the same approach with the Bahamas, the Orlando Sentinel reported. A Florida law that went into effect July 1 threatens to fine any company that requires proof of vaccination $5,000 per instance.
A federal judge granted a temporary injunction that prohibits Florida from enforcing the law against Norwegian Cruise Line and its sister brands after the company filed suit, the Sentinel reported. The state will not enforce the law for any cruise line until a decision on the injunction is made by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We believe the ruling will be overturned upon appeal, and we are confident in the legal basis for Florida’s vaccine passport ban,” DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw said in an email to the Sentinel.
Passengers will have to show proof of vaccination no later than 24 hours before boarding, according to Disney’s statement. The company is offering sail date changes and refunds to those affected by the new policy, as other cruise lines have done.
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