The state of Florida filed a lawsuit against the CDC to demand the resumption of cruise ship operations. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis calls the no-sail order outdated. DeSantis said that “we don’t believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for over a year”. He also added that the cruise industry was stalled “based on very little evidence and very little data”.
Uncertainty for the Cruise Industry
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in October 2020 released its conditional sailing order. Though it allows ships to operate, the number of passengers and crew should be below 250. Last week, the CDC issued new guidelines. But so far, there’s no exact date when they can operate again.
According to the lawsuit, the CDC contradicts itself as it made a statement that fully vaccinated individuals can travel with low risk.
Florida is the US cruise capital. It has the busiest ports including Miami, Port Canaveral, and Port Everglades. According to the lawsuit, the industry generates billions for the economy by bringing millions of travelers to Florida’s ports every year.
Ron DeSantis also mentioned that the ban made people fly to other ports such as the Bahamas. Large cruise companies are also looking for a new homeport because of the uncertainty of whether or not they can resume by summer.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denied that CDC uses flawed data in banning sailing. She said that “CDC guidance is based on data and health and medical guidance”.
Maritime lawyer Michael Winkleman thinks that the case will not prosper. He said that “CDC officials have wide discretion in how they do their federally mandated job”. However, he also said that “I don’t think there is any reason why cruises cannot sail safely”.
Small cruises are already operating in the US. However, it isn’t enough to revitalize the US cruise industry.
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