Governor DeSantis of Florida is not done yet with the CDC. While the state has put a lawsuit towards the agency and the federal government, the new regulations released yesterday for test-voyages for unvaccinated cruises have renewed the Governor’s fight.
While the cruise industry has a reasonably simple framework to start operating cruises with vaccinated guests only, the framework for cruises without vaccinated guests onboard is riddled with severe restrictions. Governor DeSantis has been against implementing any vaccine passports, something the CDC requires from the cruise lines.
Florida Governor Responds
There is no denying the guidelines that the CDC released this week hamper a return of cruising, at least in the case of cruises without a vaccination mandate. The Governor reacted on Twitter:
The latest guidance from @CDCgov is a joke but what else did we expect from the Biden Administration? Vaccine passports infringe on our liberty and don’t keep people safe. Our cruise industry is a major economic driver. Let our ships sail!
The governor lashes back then at the criticism he received when he signed into law the Bill, denying businesses in Florida the opportunity to demand proof of vaccination.
According to several opponents, the Bill opened the door to several legal challenges that could lead to first amendment issues. The Bill, in effect, stripping businesses of the right to control their association with unvaccinated people.
“The CDC is holding the Cruise Industry hostage”
The new framework the CDC released provides the cruise lines with the chance to either sail with or without a vaccine mandate, yet placing extremely restrictive measures on cruises without a vaccine mandate. Effectively making it nearly impossible, or at least entirely ineffective and costly, to resume cruises without vaccinations.
A DeSantis spokesperson told Fox News:
“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,”
The requirements from the CDC include a large number of procedures the cruise ships will need to comply with and show the CDC during simulated or test voyages. These include quarantine procedures in case of an outbreak, mass testing, social distancing, mask-wearing at all times throughout the vessel, limited numbers on board, evacuation procedures, and much more.
DeSantis’ Bill could backfire
Florida already sued the CDC and the Federal Government to have the CSO banned entirely and allow cruise lines to sail with far less restrictive measures.
Nonetheless, both Alaska and Texas joined the lawsuit to show their support to the cruise industry. All three states have a sizeable economic benefit to the cruise industry, supporting more than 400,000 jobs in the United States alone.
Whether or not the lawsuit will be successful, the pressure remains on the CDC to allow cruises to resume as soon as possible. While a July date seems firmly in the works, the fact that DeSantis signed into law his new Bill means that vaccinated cruises from the State of Florida could well be out of the question.