Florida-based cruise ships are currently free from the CDC’s pandemic restrictions. A federal court recently ruled that they are no longer mandatory.
Florida officials recently filed a lawsuit claiming the CDC’s restrictions would harm the cruise industry and the state itself. A court ruling last Saturday sided with the Florida officials but that ruling was then temporarily blocked by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision was then reversed on Friday. The Court said that the CDC failed to demonstrate an entitlement to put a stay on a pending appeal.
Attorneys for Florida urged the Court to reject the CDC’s request to keep its rules intact saying, “The equities overwhelmingly favor allowing the cruise industry to enjoy its first summer season in two years while this Court sorts out the CDC’s contentions on appeal.”
The CDC argues that keeping the restrictions in place will prevent COVID-19 outbreaks as cruise ships are vulnerable to the spread of the virus. “The undisputed evidence shows that unregulated cruise ship operations would exacerbate the spread of COVID-19, and that the harm to the public that would result from such operations cannot be undone,” the CDC said in a court filing.
Several cruise lines have already begun taking steps to resume sailing this summer. Disney Cruise Line recently announced that the Disney Dream would resume Bahamas sailings out of Florida next month.
We will continue to follow this story and update as more information is made available.