Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that the state will be suing the federal government and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to bring back the cruise industry “immediately.”
“On behalf of the tens of thousands of Floridians whose livelihood depends on the viability of an open cruise industry, today Florida is fighting back,” DeSantis said in a news conference in Miami.
The CDC has maintained its halt on cruising since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when cruise ships around the world initially became superspreaders. However, several major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have since found workarounds to this by offering “fully vaccinated” sailings from ports outside of the US, including Bermuda and the Caribbeans, a move DeSantis says takes business away from Florida.
“We don’t believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for over a year,” DeSantis continued. “I think we have a good chance for success.”
On April 2, the CDC announced fully vaccinated people could travel safely in the US without quarantining or testing. Shortly after, the agency also issued an update to its conditional sailing order, which was first initially unveiled in October 2020 to replace a no-sail order imposed on the US cruise industry.
But despite the industry’s demands to resume sailing by July, the CDC didn’t announce a sooner sailing return in its updated order. Instead, it implemented what the Cruise Lines International Association has called “unduly burdensome and largely unworkable” requirements.
“I challenge you to tell me of another venue anywhere that has this kind of ironclad health and safety protocols in place,” Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line parent CEO, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Mad Money” on Monday. “Cruise ships will de facto become the safest place on earth.”
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