Federal judge rejected CDC’s request to keep COVID-19 restrictions on Florida cruises in place after July 18, writing the agency “cannot show any factor that outweighs the need to conclude an exercise unjustified and unprecedented government power ”.
U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday initially ruled against the CDC last month, granting a preliminary injunction that will turn the Conditional Navigation Order (CSO) into non-binding guidelines on July 18.
The CDC appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and requested a stay on Tuesday, but Merryday denied that request on Wednesday.
REGENT SEVEN SEAS SHARES THE 2024 DATE OF ITS 132 NIGHT WORLD CRUISE
“While the CDC invariably lines the argument with dire prospects of ‘transmission’ of COVID-19 aboard a cruise ship, these grim allusions reject national and local health authorities, industry self-regulation and careful and costly preparations and accommodations of all parties involved to avoid ‘transmission’ and to contain and control ‘transmission’, if there is one, ”Merryday wrote on Wednesday.
He continued, “More specifically, this action does not relate to the health precautions against COVID-19 that are necessary or useful on board a cruise ship; this action concerns the use and abuse of governmental power. “
The CDC closed cruises in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, then issued a CSO in October that gave cruise lines a strict phased approach to reopening.
The legal battle began in April when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sued the CDC, saying “the lawsuit is necessary to protect Floridians from the overbreadth of the federal government and the resulting economic damage to our state.” .
After Merryday’s move in favor of Florida, the CSO will turn into mere recommendations on July 18, and the CDC’s appeal will be left at Circuit 11.
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Cruises have already resumed in Florida, with Celebrity Edge taking off from Fort Lauderdale on June 26. A Royal Caribbean ship sailed from Miami on July 2 and a Carnival Cruise Line ship sailed from Galveston, Texas on July 3.