Appellate Court to Decide Florida’s Cruise Industry Fight with CDC

Cruise ship next to dock


The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will be hearing a case between the State of Florida and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over cruise industry COVID-related restrictions.

Last month, a federal district judge sided with Florida and issued an immediate injunction against the CDC-imposed COVID restrictions on the cruise industry, halting the restrictions temporarily.

U.S. District Judge Merryday issued the ruling by saying the reopening of professional and collegiate sports, state economies, and airlines are proof the CDC was out of line.

“With the advent of highly effective vaccines, with more than half of adults fully vaccinated, with infection plummeting, with death from COVID-19 asymptotically approaching zero; with the benefit of effective therapeutics for COVID-19; with masks, safe distancing, and sanitation; and with the successful and safe reopening of business, including airlines, sporting events, and other high capacity venues, COVID-19 no longer threatens the public’s health to the same extent presented at the start of the pandemic or when CDC issued the conditional sailing order.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill from Spring’s legislative session banning vaccine passports, which the CDC would require for cruise staff and patrons, despite most of American cruise lines launching from Florida and subject to Florida law.

“We are going to enforce Florida law,” DeSantis said. “I mean, we have Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens, and we are going to enforce it.”

In early May, DeSantis also took time to rail against the federal government’s overreach into Florida issues, when the lawsuit against the CDC was first announced.

“We believe that it is time for us to vindicate the state’s rights and the rights of the state in court and also vindicate the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of Floridians who depend on this industry,” he said. “Help is on the way. We’re going to keep at this until we finally get it open.”

The state and the CDC previously attempted to mediate the issue, but the effort was unsuccessful, ensuring the fight would be handled in court.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 









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