Florida Government will consider filing a lawsuit against the federal government over its ongoing restriction on the cruise industry according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and state Attorney General Ashley Moody.
DeSantis said in a Friday news conference, if the White House does not permit cruise lines to begin sailing again by summer, he’s going to take on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On a roundtable discussion with cruise industry executives on Friday, Moody said the state was weighing its legal options against the Biden Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control for keeping the cruise industry idled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In October, the CDC announced a new framework for sailing that requires cruises to have onboard testing and carry out mock voyages and many other requirements before they are allowed to restart in US ports. The industry was shut down a year ago after several coronavirus outbreaks erupted on cruise ships.
“You can’t have an agency shutting down an entire industry based on outdated arbitrary capricious decisions and so we will take all legal action as necessary,” Moody added.
“I want to see these ships sailing,” DeSantis said during a meeting at Port Canaveral. “It would be a great comeback for a lot of people who work in this industry.”
Cruise ships were ground zero for deadly outbreaks of COVID-19. One of the worst outbreaks on the Diamond Princess resulted in 14 deaths and more than 700 infections.
$260 million of relief money is being planned to allocate to support seaports that suffered losses during the pandemic, however that won’t be enough if ships can’t sail, DeSantis said.
Port Everglades is operating at a 54% loss, which forced the temporary or permanent loss of 14,000 jobs, according to the Broward County port’s statistics.
“We’re the most crippled by what they are doing with this national cruise lockdown,” DeSantis said. “If we get liberated from that, you are going to be able to see maybe tens of thousands — maybe even 100,000 more people — end up going back to work.”