Gov. DeSantis announces lawsuit against federal government, CDC over cruise industry shutdown

Florida

MIAMI, Fla. (WESH/WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that the state is filing a lawsuit against the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demanding the reopening of the cruise industry.

The governor said that unless the cruise industry can resume sailings from U.S. ports, people will be going to the Bahamas to get on cruise ships. He said that will lead to missed revenue for the state of Florida.

“We must allow our cruise liners and their employees to get back to work and safely set sail again,” said DeSantis. “To be clear, no federal law authorizes the CDC to indefinitely impose a nationwide shutdown of an entire industry. This lawsuit is necessary to protect Floridians from the federal government’s overreach and resulting economic harm to our state.”

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.

Carnival Cruise Line has more ships based at Port Canaveral than any other cruise company,

The industry has been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020.

“Cruises are a vital part of Florida’s tourism industry—employing thousands and boosting our state’s economy. Every day the federal government unfairly keeps this economic giant docked, our economy suffers. The ripple effect of this misguided federal lockdown has far-reaching implications for the cruise industry, international tourism, businesses that would benefit from the influx of visitors, our state’s economy and the thousands of Floridians who work in the industry,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.

The CDC last week issued updated guidance for the eventual return to cruises from U.S. ports.

The latest guidance from the CDC does not replace the conditional sail order issued last October but gives cruise lines a number of changes that will need to be made before test cruises begin from the U.S.

The CDC guidance requires cruise lines to establish agreements at ports where they intend to operate, implement routine testing of crew, and develop plans incorporating vaccination strategies to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of COVID-19 by crew and passengers.

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