Gov. Ron DeSantis Goes After Feds, CDC In Hopes Of Jumpstarting Shutdown Cruising Industry

CBS4's Jessica Vallejo shares the details of the lawsuit.

Video Transcript

ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: First on 11:00, the governor versus the government. Governor Ron DeSantis sues the Feds, demanding they let the cruise industry get back to business now. Good evening. I'm Eliott Rodriguez.

BROOKE SHAFER: And I'm Brooke Shafer in for Lauren Pastrana. It's been about 13 months and counting since anyone went on a cruise.

ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: And thousands of Floridians who work on those ships keep waiting for their jobs to come back. So tonight, this 21-page lawsuit is filed asking a judge to step in and immediately cancel the CDC's no sale order. CBS4's Jessica Vallejo's live for a support in Miami with our top story at 11:00. Jessica?

JESSICA VALLEJO: That's right, Eliott and Brooke. Well, cruise lines, like this one behind me, the Norwegian one, as well as many Royal Caribbean cruise ships have been docked here [? unpacked ?] since the start of the pandemic. And a travel agent says the ones suffering and struggling the most are the crew members. Take a listen.

Late Thursday night, cruise ships sit docked at Port Miami doing what they've been doing for the past year-- nothing. But the governor wants to change that.

RON DESANTIS: We don't believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry--

JESSICA VALLEJO: Surrounded by port workers, jobless, as the cruise industry shut down last year, Governor Ron DeSantis said he's suing the CDC and the federal government.

RON DESANTIS: --demanding that our cruise ships be reopened immediately.

JESSICA VALLEJO: Monique Lawrence, part of the cruise industry support staff at Port Miami says she's had a hard time supporting her extended family.

MONIQUE LAWRENCE: Backed up in my home as far as like rent and the electricity and things of that nature.

JESSICA VALLEJO: And David Lee Bergert says he's been late on his rent, as he struggles to keep his family afloat.

DAVID LEE BERGERT: It's hard for us to find jobs-- to be unemployed. Miami is Miami. It's time to get back to work.

JESSICA VALLEJO: The governor says tens of thousands of cruise workers have been left high and dry in the shutdown, affects millions of visitors with their money traveling through Port Miami, Port Everglade, and Port Canaveral every year.

MONICA ZAPATA: We have had deaths. And sadly, and I say sadly because it wasn't due to COVID. It was quite literally due to heartbreak.

JESSICA VALLEJO: Some major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, say they will require proof of vaccinations for crew and passengers on some voyages. But the governor is pushing back saying they will not be doing vaccine passports.

SANDRA MCLEMORE: Now, this is problematic because the CDC have just issued the next phase of conditional sailing. And one of the keys to the next phase for the cruise industry to start again to get everybody back to work and back out on vacation is strategies in place to make sure that not only the guests, but the crew on board as well are also vaccinate.

JESSICA VALLEJO: Travel industry expert Sandra McLemore says cruising has resumed in much of the world forcing Americans to fly to other ports.

SANDRA MCLEMORE: Take Royal Caribbean, for example, operating out of Singapore. At this moment, they still have not had a single positive case of COVID on board.

JESSICA VALLEJO: She says no cruise ships are currently at risk of becoming bankrupt. But they are in hopes of sailing soon.

SANDRA MCLEMORE: So many jobs here in the United States and especially in Florida are directly or indirectly tied to the cruise line industry. And until cruising starts, they also cannot go back to work.

JESSICA VALLEJO: And this travel expert says you won't have to show any sort of medical records that you got a vaccine-- just some sort of verification. We're live in Port Miami. Jessica Vallejo, CBS4 News tonight.