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Gov. DeSantis slams CDC rules keeping cruise industry dry-docked for COVID

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted the Centers for Disease Control’s “baseless” orders that have kept the US cruise industry shut down for a year under restrictive coronavirus rules that could drag on for eight more months.

“Floridians deserve the right to earn a living,” the Republican governor said Friday at Port Canaveral, the cruise ship hub. “I urge the CDC to immediately rescind this baseless no-sail order to allow Floridians in this industry to get back to work.”

Cruising is a $3.2 billion industry in the Sunshine State, and keeping it shuttered has up to 100,000 Floridians out of work, DeSantis said — even though the rest of the state has been back in business for months.

The state attorney general and the presidents of five major cruise lines joined the governor to vent their frustration at the fed policy, despite the expanding availability of vaccines and the resumption of cruising in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.

A surfer eyes Disney Cruise Line ships near Cocoa Beach, Florida.
A surfer eyes Disney Cruise Line ships near Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File

After promising to issue new guidance as medical circumstances change, the CDC has made no revisions to its “conditional sailing order” since October — and an agency spokesperson said Wednesday that the shutdown remains in effect until Nov. 1, USA Today reported.


“The orders that we’re operating under are based on outdated medical information and they’re untimely,” said Forida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

The Disney Dream cruise ship prepares to depart from Port Canaveral.
The Disney Dream cruise ship prepares to depart from Port Canaveral.
Sipa USA via AP

“We can’t get any reliable information from the entity that’s closed us down,” complained Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises. “It’s in inter-agency government review month after month after month. It’s devastating.”

A few small-capacity vessels resumed coastal and river cruises in American waters this month — the first passenger ships to set sail since the pandemic began — because their limited size allowed them to squeak under the CDC’s stringent rules.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis is urging the CDC to allow the cruise line industry to re-open so Floridians who work on ships can go back to work.
Alan Youngblood/Ocala Star-Banner via AP

“If you’re not going to be willing to greenlight this, then you need to explain why everywhere else in the world can do it,” DeSantis said.



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