TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida is looking to overturn the CDC’s reopening plan for cruises, and Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit challenging the CDC’s restrictions in April.
But a mediator declared an impasse in talks aimed at resolving the battle between Florida and CDC over the restrictions, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli held a settlement conference last week and continued it Tuesday. An online court docket early Thursday afternoon did not show the outcome of the conference, but DeSantis’ office issued a news release that said an impasse had been declared.
DeSantis has had harsh words for the CDC on the cruise ship limbo. His office released a statement which said in part:
“...the CDC continues to impose ridiculous, unlawful regulations that target a single industry by imposing vaccine requirements – something no other business or industry must do. These requirements not only discriminate against one industry, but children, families, and small businesses. Despite Florida’s sincere efforts to reach a compromise, the United States District Court declared an impasse.”
The cruise industry was shut down last year after COVID-19 outbreaks aboard its ships. Florida’s lawsuit largely focuses on a “conditional sailing order” that the CDC issued last October.
The order outlines a plan to resume cruising operations in phases.
The agency has issued updated guidance as it moves toward allowing cruise ships to operate. But it has clashed with DeSantis, in part, because he and state lawmakers banned businesses -- including cruise ships --- from requiring what are known as vaccine “passports” that would show people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The lawsuit says the CDC overstepped its authority with the conditional sailing order. But the Department of Justice is firing back, saying the federal government has long had the authority to regulate ships to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.