Florida sues CDC over cruise restrictions

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The Miami Cruise Terminal at Port Miami
The Miami Cruise Terminal at Port Miami (Source: Wikimedia Commons).
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The state of Florida has sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over cruise industry restrictions.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE — Ashley Moody, Attorney General for the State of Florida, filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over what she argues is an “outdated federal shutdown order” of the cruise industry.

Amid the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease early in 2020, the CDC shut down the nation’s cruise industry to curtail the spread of the virus and to avoid another Diamond Princess crisis. However, the COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues to increase rapidly under the leadership of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Yet, the cruise industry remains under a strict federal shutdown order—harming the national economy and Florida’s travel industry along with its workers,” notes the Attorney General’s office.

“Cruises are a vital part of Florida’s tourism industry—employing thousands and boosting our state’s economy,” Moody said. “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.”

Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida is home to three of the world’s busiest cruise ship ports. These include Miami, Port Canaveral, and Port Everglades, meaning that the industry employs thousands of workers and generates billions in private revenue and tax funds.

Moody, representing Florida, filed the lawsuit in the Tampa Division for the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Recently confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, CDC director Rochelle Walensky, and other healthcare officials.

The complaint asks a court to set aside the CDC’s actions and to compel it to allow cruises to operate with reasonable safety protocols.

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