Federal Court lifts CDC rules for Florida-based cruise ships

Miami (AP) —Florida-based cruise ships no longer have pandemic restrictions under the Federal Court of Appeals’ decision on Friday. Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is fighting a Florida lawsuit that challenges regulation.

A committee of three judges from the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked last Saturday’s ruling in favor of Florida authorities, but the court overturned that decision on Friday and the CDC appealed. He explained that he was unable to qualify for a pending stay.

A temporary stay last weekend maintained the CDC’s regulations on Florida-based cruise ships, and the CDC appealed to the June decision by Judge Stephen Maryday of the US District Court. These regulations are no longer enforceable, but can be used as guidelines.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has defended the CDC’s multi-step process of allowing cruises from Florida to be overwhelming, with billions of dollars providing jobs and income for about 159,000 people raised by the state. It claims to be damaging both industries of scale.

A Florida lawyer asked the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to dismiss the CDC’s request to keep the rules in place in a court filing.

“While the court is arranging allegations about the CDC’s appeal, stocks overwhelmingly support the cruise industry to enjoy the summer season for the first time in two years,” a Florida lawyer said.

However, by maintaining the rules, the CDC can prevent future outbreaks of COVID-19 on vessels vulnerable to virus spread due to frequent berthings in densely populated areas and foreign ports. Said.

“Indisputable evidence shows that unregulated cruise ship operations exacerbate the COVID-19 epidemic and the harm to the public resulting from such operations cannot be undone.” Said the CDC in a court filing.

The CDC first shut down cruise ships entirely in March 2020 in response to a coronavirus pandemic that affected a large number of ship passengers and crew.

Then, on October 30, last year, the CDC imposed a four-step conditional framework that would allow the industry to gradually resume operations when certain thresholds were reached. They included virus mitigation procedures and a simulated cruise to test them before embarking regular passengers.

Merryday’s decision concluded that the CDC cannot enforce these rules on Florida-based vessels and should be considered non-binding recommendations or guidelines. Under these guidelines, which Tampa judges agreed with Florida, several cruise lines have begun preliminary cruises.

“Florida convincingly argues that conditional voyage orders will close most cruises during the summer, and perhaps longer,” the judge wrote in June.

Disney Cruise Line hosted its first mock sailing under CDC rules when Disney Dream left Port Canaveral, Florida last Saturday. The passenger was a Disney volunteer employee.