Gov. DeSantis: Florida to fight appeals court ruling in cruise ship case

Just one day after an appeals court sided with the CDC in imposing Covid restrictions on cruise ships, Governor Ron DeSantis says he will fight the ruling if necessary, all the way to the Supreme Court.

A day after a federal appeals court sided with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in imposing COVID-19 restrictions on cruise ships, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that he will fight the ruling.

While taking questions from reporters in Poinciana, Florida, on Monday morning, DeSantis vowed to take the fight to a higher court.

″I think most courts at this point have had their limit with the CDC issuing these dictates without a firm statutory basis, so I’m confident that we’d win on the merits at the full 11th Circuit, and I’m confident we’d win the Supreme Court,” DeSantis said, referencing the CDC’s guidance stating that cruise lines offering sailings with paying passengers need to make sure 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated before setting sail.

To make this happen, some cruise lines are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test prior to getting on board, while others simply ask passengers if they have been vaccinated.

″It raised a bigger question, can you have just one agency without Congress ever passing a law, just basically shutting down an industry?” DeSantis said.

News4Jax asked local travel agent Scott Lara, The Cruise Genius, if the ongoing legal battle is having any effect on the cruise industry and Americans’ desire to set sail.

“This back and forth between the CDC and our governor is having no effect on our consumers, especially avid cruisers. They are ready to get back on the open seas,” Lara said.

Lara said Monday that the average price of a cruise remains level right now, but he expects those prices to increase in the near future as more and cruise lines prepare to launch. Lara said he’s telling his clients who are against vaccination to consider other travel options like all-inclusive resorts or be prepared to pay more money.

“It’s important for cruisers to realize if they are anti-vax, they are going to have to buy travel insurance, especially at the end of July for Carnival,” Lara said. “And this is a win-win. It’s great insurance in case you lose a bag or the unlikely event you get COVID, you get that money back. Having that insurance is critical.”

In the motion filed by the CDC, it said the state of Florida disregarded the threat to public health that would arise if cruise ship operators were at liberty to ignore CDC guidance or act without oversight from public health authorities. The governor has argued that the CDC doesn’t have the authority to regulate an entire industry.

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Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.