Florida’s DeSantis calls out CDC for holding cruise industry ‘hostage’

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EXCLUSIVE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called out the CDC on Tuesday for burdensome coronavirus requirements on cruise lines, which make up a big part of the state’s economy.

“The CDC continues to hold the cruise industry hostage. With this lawsuit Florida looks forward to fighting back against never-ending restrictions targeting one industry in our state,” a DeSantis spokesperson told Fox News.

CDC SAYS US CRUISES CAN RESUME IN MID-JULY, SENDING SHARES HIGHER

Florida sued the federal government in April over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s restrictions for cruise ships, which included a conditional sailing order that was effective until Nov. 1. A few weeks later, the CDC said cruise lines could resume U.S. operations as soon as July if they meet strict criteria, but DeSantis is still not satisfied.

Port Canaveral, Florida, USA - May 12, 2011: Disney Cruise Line's Disney Dream heads to sea from Port Canaveral. The ship was put into service in 2011.

Port Canaveral, Florida, USA – May 12, 2011: Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream heads to sea from Port Canaveral. The ship was put into service in 2011.

The CDC will require 98% of a ship’s crew and 95% of passengers to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. It’s unclear if this percentage applies to child passengers as no coronavirus vaccines have yet been approved for emergency use in children.

DeSantis, speaking at a news conference in April, said that while Florida’s unemployment rate is below the national average, Dade County’s rate is higher mainly because of the no-sail order. The lawsuit states that in 2019 the cruise industry provided nearly 159,000 jobs in Florida that paid a total income of $8.1 billion.

“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,” DeSantis said, “and I think we have a good chance for success.”

Florida’s lawsuit names the Department of Health and Human Services, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the CDC, and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky as defendants. The complaint describes the U.S. cruise industry as “singled out” since air travel has been allowed to resume.

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Alaska, another state with a robust cruise industry, joined Florida’s suit against the federal government in April.

Internationally, many cruise ships are idle, but companies including MSC Cruises were able to get back to the new normal last fall thanks to strict coronavirus protocol. The MSC Grandiosa made stops in Italy and Malta in fall 2020, The Points Guy reported.

Fox News’ inquiry to the CDC was not returned at the time of publication.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Kelly Laco contributed to this report.



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