Judge sides with Florida in court against CDC’s Covid-19 rules for cruises – .

Judge sides with Florida in court against CDC’s Covid-19 rules for cruises – .

A federal judge sided with Florida in his lawsuit over federal government restrictions on the cruise industry, a move that could facilitate the resumption of ships after a 15-month shutdown due to the pandemic of coronavirus.

U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday in Tampa, Fla. On Friday granted the state’s request for a preliminary injunction barring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from enforcing a conditional navigation order the agency issued. in place in October. In order, the CDC has put in place a framework for cruise lines to restart operations by performing multiple phases, including test crossings, too onerous requirements depending on the cruise industry.

In his ruling, Judge Merryday said Florida was likely to prevail in its claim that the CDC had exceeded its authority by issuing the conditional navigation order. He compared the agency’s approach to shutting down with the cruise industry to the voluntary recommendations it has issued for other leisure and hospitality industries, such as hotels, casinos and sports arenas. . And he said declining infection rates and increased vaccinations in the United States have reduced the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak on board ships.
“The availability of vaccines and tests and the relatively insignificant incidence of infection on overseas cruises – all quickly identified and contained – encourage optimism about the safety of shipping operations in the United States, which benefit from high vaccination rates and greatly improved on-board containment mechanisms. », Wrote Judge Merryday.

The judge immediately suspended the injunction until July 18, when the conditional navigation order will become a non-binding directive for the cruise industry, similar to the tools the agency uses with industries like airlines. and railways. He gave the CDC the option of proposing a more restrictive injunction no later than July 2 and ordered the parties to continue mediation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who highlighted his battle with the federal government to restart cruises and whose state is a major hub for the industry, welcomed the decision.

“The CDC was wrong from the start, and they knew it,” DeSantis said. “Today, we are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for every state that wishes to uphold its rights in the face of unprecedented federal reach.”

A spokesperson for the CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Write to Arian Campo-Flowers à [email protected]

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Appeared in the print edition of June 19, 2021 under the title “US judge blocks CDC rules on cruises”.


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