Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday said that they are suing the Biden administration in order to overturn a no-sailing directive by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as it is leading to losses of billions of dollars to the cruise industry.
Mr DeSantis, in a conference on Thursday, said the CDC’s conditional sailing order is outdated and hurting the industry that employs tens of thousands of Floridians.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,” he said.
Last week, the CDC had issued new guidelines for companies on how to respond in the event of Covid-19 but has so far not lifted its no-sail order. The CDC had come out with a no-sail order in March 2020 that brought Florida’s sailing business to a halt.
“We must allow our cruise liners and their employees to get back to work and safely set sail again. To be clear, no federal law authorises the CDC to indefinitely impose a nationwide shutdown of an entire industry. This lawsuit is necessary to protect Floridians from the federal government’s overreach and resulting economic harm to our state,” said Florida’s governor.
Florida’s attorney general Ashley Moody said the “ripple effect of this misguided federal lockdown has far-reaching implications for the cruise industry, international tourism, businesses that would benefit from the influx of visitors.”
Florida has recorded over 2.1 million cases of Covid-19 so far with about 100,000 coming in the last three weeks. On 7 April, it recorded 7,886 cases of the coronavirus in one day, which is the highest single-day spike in the last month.
A government statement said that the CDC’s conditional sailing order harms Florida and its citizens as it prevents numerous businesses and employees from earning a living, contributes to the state’s unemployment, exacerbates the massive shortfalls in revenues experienced by Florida’s seaports and impacts the state and local taxes associated with the cruise industry.
It claimed that the CDC’s prohibition continues despite Covid-19 vaccines being widely available and other countries successfully resuming cruise sailings.
The statement quoted a September 2020 report from the Federal Maritime Commission, according to which, Florida during the first six months of the pandemic, suffered a loss of about $3.2bn (£2.33bn) in economic activity due to the cruise industry shutdown.