The governor of Florida has said his state will sue the federal government and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an attempt to allow the takeover of cruise ships, the latest clash between Republicans and the Biden administration for the reopening of the economy.
Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is due for re-election next year and who has been hinted at as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said Thursday that Florida had taken legal action “demanding the immediate reopening of our cruise ships.”
“Florida is fighting back today,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Miami alongside Ashley Moody, Florida’s attorney general. “We don’t think the federal government has the right to shut down a major industry for more than a year, based on very little evidence and very little data, and I think we have a good chance. to succeed.
The Florida trial highlights clear divisions among U.S. policymakers over how to reopen the U.S. economy amid rising Covid-19 vaccination and declining coronavirus infections. Many Republican state governors continued with plans to reopen even as the federal government urged a more cautious approach.
Florida is among the states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions still in place. In neighboring Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday lifted all remaining restrictions on the pandemic, including legally enforced social distancing and a ban on large gatherings.
Moody said Florida has taken legal action against the Biden administration, the CDC and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
“We are not going to sit idly by while an administrative agency decides to shut down an entire industry,” she added. “Sixty percent of the country’s cruises come from Florida. Nearly $ 8 billion is pumped into the Florida economy through this thriving industry. “
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, replied: “We do not have a direct response to a lawsuit or comment on a specific lawsuit, but I will simply reiterate that the CDC guidelines are based on health and medical data and guidelines. . “
The cruise industry has disagreed with the CDC over its inability to issue new guidance following a “conditional navigation order” issued in October that said the agency would take a “phased approach” to shipping. resumption of the cruise, without giving firm dates as to when.
Last month, the International Association of Cruise Lines said: “The lack of any action by the CDC has effectively banned all crossings into the world’s largest cruise market. Cruising is the only sector of the U.S. economy that remains off-limits, even as most others have opened or have continued to operate throughout the pandemic.
The CDC subsequently issued guidelines to outline a restart of the cruise, including requirements for ships to enter into agreements with the port authorities where they intend to dock, routine tests and a plan for vaccination for the crew. CLIA called the plans “too cumbersome, largely unworkable.”
The cruise is expected to begin in Europe from this month, with operators offering domestic routes such as trips around UK ports or the Canary Islands.
Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise line operator, said on Wednesday it hopes all of its 90 ships will be in service by the end of the year, but will only have 12% of the fleet. in action during the summer. It takes two to three months to prepare a vessel for a return to sail.