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Florida fight with CDC over cruise ships heads to court

Florida Hoping To End CDC Cruise Restrictions
Florida Hoping To End CDC Cruise Restrictions

The state of Florida is hoping a federal judge in Tampa will put a stop to the CDC’s cruise restrictions on Thursday when he hears the state’s request for an injunction.

According to the CDC, right now cruise ships can either run a simulated voyage OR cruise lines can require at least 95% of both crew and passengers are fully vaccinated. Several ships are scheduled to sail within the month.

Royal Caribbean says the cruise line’s comeback will kick off July 2 in Miami with trial voyages.

But lawyers for the state of Florida say the CDC is treating the cruise industry unfairly and hurting one of the state’s biggest industries. It generates billions for the state’s economy as millions of people typically cruise from one of Florida’s ports each year.

Right now, the no sail order remains in effect until Nov. 1, but Florida filed a lawsuit in April to demand cruise ships be allowed to start sailing immediately.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office argues the CDC is “coercing” the cruise industry into requiring almost all passengers to be vaccinated before they can go on cruises, which would violate a state ban on what have become known as COVID-19 vaccine “passports.”

The filing also said, “but make no mistake -- the CDC continues its overreach, and Florida’s irreparable harm increases by the day.”

The CDC has made several updates to the guidelines since the no sail order was put into effect in March 2020 and a brief filed on Monday says it expects cruises to resume by mid-summer.

About the Author:

Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.