Florida sues CDC to allow cruises to resume U.S. salings

ANASTASIA ZYG


Maiden voyage of the Symphony of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship delivered by STX shipyards in Saint-Nazaire to the American ship-owner Royal Caribbean cruise Ltd (RCCL).

Andia | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that the state will be filing a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding cruise ships be allowed to resume sailing immediately.

“On behalf of the tens of thousands of Floridians who’s livelihoods depends on the viability of an open cruise industry, today Florida’s fighting back,” he announced in a press conference on Thursday. “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.”

DeSantis called the CDC’s decision to delay the opening of the U.S. cruise industry “irrational” and said that he believes that this lawsuit will have a “good chance for success.”

The governor signed an executive order on Friday forbidding so-called vaccine passports, which will also apply for the cruise industry, saying that private and public businesses are not required to show proof of vaccination.

Cruise lines extend trip suspensions

Industry asks for fair treatment

Royal Caribbean has carried over 100,000 guests on its ships outside the U.S. since the pandemic and has only seen 10 Covid cases, Fain said on “CBS This Morning” on Thursday. He said he “would like to be treated in a very similar way to the airlines and other forms of transportation.”

Arnold Donald, the CEO of Carnival Cruise Line, also expressed a similiar sentiment in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. He said cruise lines would “like to be treated the same as other sectors and travel and tourism and entertainment.”

While airlines are able to fly across the world during the pandemic, the cruise industry, which had over 100,000 American jobs pre-Covid, has faced about a year without any trips from its U.S. ports.

“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 U.S.,” the Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement on Monday, calling for the CDC to lift its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, which describes a “framed approach” for U.S. cruise operations to return with no strict date in sight.

Last week, the CDC released technical instructions for cruise ships including increasing the frequency of Covid case reporting from weekly to daily, establishing a plan for all staff members to be vaccinated and implementing routine testing. However, this update did not specify a date for cruise lines to return to operation in the U.S.

“Nobody can guarantee anybody is safe from Covid anywhere in America or anywhere else,” Fain told CBS. “Actually, the irony is if you go on a ship, you’re going to reduce your risk of coming down with the virus.”



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