DeSantis announces lawsuits against CDC, Biden administration to allow cruises to resume sailing out of Florida

MIAMI (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he will take legal action against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Biden administration in an effort to get cruises back up and running again.

DeSantis made the announcement during a media conference at PortMiami, Thursday afternoon.

“Today, Florida is fighting back,” DeSantis said. “The cruisers will go to the Bahamas and cruise. They will spend their money, and it’s just not going to be putting our friends in Florida back to work.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said the state decided to move forward with the suit after cruise lines, such as Carnival, floated the idea of moving their ships out of the state.

“We filed this morning in the middle district of Florida federal court,” Moody said. “When we saw that cruises started talking about moving their cruise lines to other countries, enough is enough.”

The governor said he is filing the lawsuits because, for more than a year, cruise ships have not been sailing in or out of the state of Florida. The state has the largest cruise ports in the world.

The administration in Florida said their biggest concern is that the cruise companies will leave and cruise out of other countries that have allowed cruises to resume. This would then lead to a potential loss of billions of dollars in revenue for the state.

“People can make the decision that they want to make. People are going to cruise one way or another. The question is are we going to do it out of Florida, which is the number one place to do it in the world? Or are they going to be doing it out of the Bahamas or other locations?” said DeSantis. “I think that the answer to that question should be obvious for Floridians. We want our folks to be able to go back to work, we want to be able to stand up to them and their families and so today we’re doing that.”

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio said the past year has been a nightmare for the industry.

“We want to be treated just like any other industry,” Del Rio said. “I don’t know of any other industry that has suffered at the hands of any other federal agency like we have.”

Jeannette Pineiro, the owner of Cruise Port Destinations, said her business relies on the cruise industry to stay afloat. She hopes the suit will put pressure on the CDC to allow business to resume.

“The waiting and the not knowing when this is going to come back has people very, very nervous,” she said.

DeSantis said once the CDC released guidelines for cruise sailing, but did not set dates for when it could resume, he decided it was time to go to court. He previously signed an executive order that stated vaccine passports will not be allowed.

He addressed the matter during the conference and said even if the cruise lines want the passports to resume cruising, he will not allow there to be any need for proof of vaccination from a traveler to board a cruise ship.

South Florida leaders, including Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, will discuss CDC guidelines on cruise ships in a Friday meeting.

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