Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that Florida is fighting back. On Thursday, the governor said that the state will sue the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, he demanded that they allow cruise ships to start sailing again.
Florida Governor: ‘Florida’s Fighting Back’
“Today, Florida’s fighting back. We don’t believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for over a year based on very little evidence and very little data. I think we have a good chance for success,” he said. In addition, the Florida governor called the CDC’s decision to put off the opening of the U.S. cruise industry as irrational. Also, he said he feels the state has a “good chance” to succeed with the lawsuit
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said that the state filed the lawsuit against the CDC, the administration of President Joe Bien, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The suit contends that “the cruise industry has been singled out, and unlike the rest of America, prevented from reopening. Despite the demonstrated success of reasonable COVID-19 safety protocols in Europe and Asia, the cruise industry in the United States has been subject to a nationwide lockdown since March 2020. As a result, the industry is on the brink of financial ruin.”
Cruise Line Waiting For Clearance
On Thursday, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines announced that it will continue suspending some of its trips that will leave from US ports for a bit longer. In a press release, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Silversea Cruises said that their sailings will remain suspended until June 30. However, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises clarified that their suspension does not exclude ships that have non-US homeports.
Richard D. Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, explained their decision. “Safety first is the priority, and we know that cruising can be safe, as we have seen in Europe and Asia. The rising number of Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, layered on top of the rigorous health and safety measures we are implementing under the Healthy Sail Panel’s guidance, enables us to create a safe environment to take a cruise. We strongly believe that President Biden’s stated goal for society to reopen in time for Independence Day is realistic,” he said.
Treat Cruise Lines Like Airlines and Other Transportation
Royal Caribbean cruises carried over 100,000 guests on their ships outside the US since the pandemic last year. Despite the large number, they only saw 10 COVID cases happen within their cruises. In an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Thursday, Fain said he would like the cruise industry “treated in a very similar way to the airlines and other forms of transportation.”
Meanwhile, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) called for the CDC to help them. Specifically, they asked the CDC to lift its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. In a statement, they asked that the CDC reconsider. “The irony is that today an American can fly to any number of destinations to take a cruise, but cannot board a ship in the US. This deprives US workers of participating in the economic recovery and does not recognize the public health advances that have been made over many months, including the ability to effectively mitigate risk on cruise ships,” the CLIA statement read. At the same time, Arnold Donald, CEO of rival Carnival Cruise Line, issued a statement similar to Fain’s. He said cruise lines would like the CDC to treat them “the same as other sectors and travel and tourism and entertainment.”
Cruise Lines Will Move Out If CDC Doesn’t Budge
Earlier this year, President Biden said that with the increase in vaccinations, he hopes that many Americans can celebrate July 4th just like normal times. However, it seems the plans to normalize activities do not include cruise lines, which remain on hold until June 30.
Already, there are rumblings that several operators will start to base ships in other countries. This includes establishing new homeports in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Greece. All because the government still refuses to give permission to depart from the United States. In the absence of any changes in the CDC’s policy toward cruise lines, Carnival Cruises might decide on their own. They can decide to move their homeports out of the US and move elsewhere. Or, the CDC can choose to lighten its restrictions or create guidelines that lines can handle.
Watch the WPTV news video reporting that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sues the federal government and CDC:
Do you agree that the CDC should allow cruise lines to resume sailing? Do present conditions make it a good idea for Americans to go traveling via cruise ships again? Let us know what you think. Share your thoughts below!