Judge sides with Florida’s opposition to CDC rules on cruise lines
Gov. Ron DeSantis is celebrating a victory in his ongoing fight against federal COVID rules on cruise ships departing from Florida.
U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday sided with DeSantis on Friday over his opposition to COVID-related public health restrictions on cruise lines.
Merryday issued a preliminary injunction to temporarily prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from enforcing the conditional sailing order issued on Oct. 30.
“The CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it,” DeSantis said in a statement.
Merryday ordered mediation and wrote DeSantis is “highly likely to prevail” in pending litigation since the CDC exceeded its authority.
The CDC issued a no sail order on March 14, 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis claimed President Joe Biden’s administration “concocted a plan to sink the cruise industry” with delays and lawsuits.
“Today, we are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for every state that wants to preserve its rights in the face of unprecedented federal overreach,” DeSantis said.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody released a statement saying Merryday’s ruling was “a victory for the hardworking Floridians whose livelihoods depend on the cruise industry.”
Merryday’s order takes effect on July 18th when it will turn the CDC’s conditional sailing order into a recommendation or guideline. The CDC will be able to contest the order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and update the terms of the conditional sailing order.
Royal Caribbean announced the cruise line is planning to allow passengers who are not vaccinated to embark in Florida, but their access to venues and events will be restricted and they will have to pay for COVID testing. The cruise line has yet to receive a conditional sailing certificate from the CDC.