TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After a year without cruises, Gov. Ron DeSantis says enough is enough.
The governor said he wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lift its No Sail Order for cruise ships. DeSantis announced Thursday the state is filing a lawsuit against the CDC and the federal government, demanding the reopening of the cruise industry.
The industry has been shut down since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis said this is keeping many Floridians from getting back to work.
“We have all this stuff available, all these other places have been cruising that’s worked. They’ve been able to do it well,” DeSantis said.
The lawsuit comes after Royal Caribbean announced that it will be resuming operations in the Bahamas. On Wednesday, the president of Carnival Cruise line threatened to pull all of its ships out of U.S. ports.
“If you’re worried about Americans and you think you should make the decisions for them, they’re still going to cruise if they want to. They’re just going to cruise off a different coast. They’re going to go to the Bahamas and cruise. They will spend their money, but it won’t be putting our friends in Florida back to work,” the governor said.
The CDC’s latest guidance does not affect the Conditional Sail Order that was issued last October, but it does advise cruises to make a number of changes before setting sail from the U.S.
Under the guidance, cruise lines should establish agreements at the ports where they plan to operate, implement routine COVID-19 testing and develop vaccination plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The governor said since the COVID-19 vaccine is available to most people, there’s no reason they can’t be back up and running.
“It will be available literally for everyone regardless of age, regardless of occupation, all that within a matter of weeks. If you’re saying under that circumstance that you can’t let the cruise lines sail then you’re basically an anti-vaxxer. I mean, you’re saying vaccines don’t work I guess, because if the vaccines don’t work than everything needs to be back to normal,” said DeSantis.