Federal court rules in favor of Florida cruise industry | News, Sports, Jobs
After being largely incapacitated for more than a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Florida cruise industry is back online following a ruling by the Eleventh Court of Appeals to overturn its own earlier decision regarding the Centers for Disease Control restrictions .
The Eleventh Circuit Court repeal followed an urgent complaint from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, which was eventually withdrawn after the repeal. The case revolved around the CDC’s No-Sail Orders, which include a number of requirements that cruise ships must meet before they are allowed to resume operations.
In a statement praising the court ruling, Governor Ron DeSantis’ office stated that the cruise industry could resume operations immediately after the CDC regulations were lifted, which the governor considered “illegal and discriminatory.”
“I am pleased that the 11th Court of Appeals reversed its previous decision and exempted the cruise lines from illegal CDC mandates, which effectively mothballed the industry for more than a year.” DeSantis explained. “The importance of this case extends beyond the cruise industry. From now on, a federal office will stand on thin legal and constitutional ice if it tries to exercise such a far-reaching authority that is not expressly regulated by law. “
Moody stated in her filing with the US Supreme Court that “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has closed the entire cruise industry in the country for most of 16 months.” Ships were not allowed to sail from March 2020 to June 2021. Since then, only five of the 65 cruise lines have been allowed to resume operations due to the restrictions, Moody said.
The state won a positive federal district court ruling on the restrictions in June, but the CDC battled the decision and the U.S. appeals court initially sided with the agency.
On her appeal to the Supreme Court, Moody stated that the agency’s conditional sailing order “Sets a number of requirements that cruise ships must meet before they are allowed to sail again. The conditional sailing order is intended to give the CDC the authority to issue “technical instructions ”- which the CDC has applied by posting an ever-changing set of requirements on its website, some of which purport to change even key provisions of this regulation, all without notice or comment.
The order, which was placed in October, will set up COVID-19 test labs on cruise lines, require self-funded experiments also known as test trips, and mandate social distancing requirements on all ships, including swimming pools and bathrooms. The order also required ships to build shelters for quarantined passengers.
Moody said the mandate, and its accompanying and ever-changing regulations, threatened to dock the Florida cruise industry for another season and cost the state millions of dollars in tax revenues and job losses.