Florida sues federal government to allow cruises to sail

The state of Florida has filed a lawsuit against the federal government to demand cruise ships be allowed to start sailing immediately, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday.

Associated Press

Apr 8, 2021, 9:12 PM

Updated 1,190 days ago

Share:

Florida sues federal government to allow cruises to sail
The state of Florida has filed a lawsuit against the federal government to demand cruise ships be allowed to start sailing immediately, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday.
DeSantis said the no-sail order is outdated and hurts the state as the industry generates billions for the economy and employs tens of thousands of Floridians.
“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,” the Republican governor said at a news conference at the Port of Miami.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines last week for companies on how to respond in the event of COVID-19 cases but has so far not lifted its no-sail order.
The lawsuit says the new guidance doesn't take into consideration another CDC statement made that fully vaccinated people can now travel at low risk to themselves. It also says the new rules increase the frequency of reports of COVID-19-like illnesses and require agreements be made between cruise companies and all U.S. ports and local health authorities where ships have to dock.
The CDC shut down sailing last March when several coronavirus outbreaks were tied to ships worldwide, prompting ports to reject docking plans and leaving some passengers and crew members to navigate for an extended time.
Florida is the nation’s cruise capital with three of the world’s busiest ports: Miami, Port Canaveral near Kennedy Space Center, and Port Everglades near Fort Lauderdale. The lawsuit says industry generates billions for the state’s economy as millions of people typically cruise from one of Florida's ports each year.
DeSantis has maintained the ban disproportionally impacts Florida and has said that cruising has resumed in much of the world, forcing Americans to fly to other ports in the nearby Bahamas. Industry leaders say there have been no new outbreaks tied to their ships.
“People are going to cruise one way or another. The question is are we going to do it out of Florida, which is the number one place to do it in the world, or are they going to be doing it out of the Bahamas or other locations?” DeSantis said.
During Thursday's press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she did not have a direct response to the lawsuit, but denied accusations the CDC uses flawed data to ban sailing.
“I will just reiterate that the CDC guidance is based on data and health and medical guidelines, hence that’s why they put it out and why they are regularly updated,” she said.
Michael Winkleman, a maritime lawyer, said that he does not expect such a lawsuit to succeed in court. But DeSantis' advocating for the cruise industry in a public way could change the public perception on the matter, and pressure the federal government to resume traveling, Winkleman says.
“The reason why this would be a futile is CDC officials have wide discretion in how they do their federally mandated job,” he said. “From a big-picture perspective, I don't think there is any reason why cruises cannot sail safely.”


More from News 12
2:16
STORM WATCH: Warm temps with scattered showers and storms through Saturday

STORM WATCH: Warm temps with scattered showers and storms through Saturday

4 'underperforming' Stop & Shop stores on Long Island set to close in 2024

4 'underperforming' Stop & Shop stores on Long Island set to close in 2024

2:22
PSEG LI, Island Harvest partner for ‘Power to Feed’ food drive

PSEG LI, Island Harvest partner for ‘Power to Feed’ food drive

0:14
Man wanted for stealing $1,800 worth of medicine from Medford store

Man wanted for stealing $1,800 worth of medicine from Medford store

2:24
Food Truck Friday: Angie’s Empanadas

Food Truck Friday: Angie’s Empanadas

1:34
The Real Deal: How to beat inflation with a summer spending plan

The Real Deal: How to beat inflation with a summer spending plan

0:32
Police: Former Hempstead church leader arrested for sexual abusing, raping girl

Police: Former Hempstead church leader arrested for sexual abusing, raping girl

1:56
Benefit concert held to expand memorial for those who died from 9/11-related illnesses

Benefit concert held to expand memorial for those who died from 9/11-related illnesses

0:14
Whole Foods store opening at Huntington shopping center next Wednesday

Whole Foods store opening at Huntington shopping center next Wednesday

0:24
Police: 16-year-old saved 2 teen swimmers in distress near Point Lookout Town Beach

Police: 16-year-old saved 2 teen swimmers in distress near Point Lookout Town Beach

0:50
Shootout For Soldiers fundraiser in Massapequa Park hopes to raise $185,000 for veteran organizations

Shootout For Soldiers fundraiser in Massapequa Park hopes to raise $185,000 for veteran organizations

2:13
Neighbors of suspected Gilgo Beach killer say quiet block has grown crowded since arrest

Neighbors of suspected Gilgo Beach killer say quiet block has grown crowded since arrest

2:06
Coram man sentenced to 25 years to life for trying to kill Suffolk police officer

Coram man sentenced to 25 years to life for trying to kill Suffolk police officer

0:23
Police: Child dies days after being found unconscious in North Haven pool

Police: Child dies days after being found unconscious in North Haven pool

1:41
Wedding dress giveaway held for military brides and first responders

Wedding dress giveaway held for military brides and first responders

0:29
Lindenhurst man indicted on child porn charges

Lindenhurst man indicted on child porn charges

0:26
Elmont man to serve 25 years to life in prison after admitting to fatally strangling woman

Elmont man to serve 25 years to life in prison after admitting to fatally strangling woman

1:43
New York Marine Rescue Center releases seal pup at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays

New York Marine Rescue Center releases seal pup at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays

0:46
Red tail hawk crashes into News 12 studio building in Bethpage

Red tail hawk crashes into News 12 studio building in Bethpage

2:12
Best Beaches: We are at Coopers Beach in Southampton

Best Beaches: We are at Coopers Beach in Southampton