DeSantis at Odds With CDC Over Cruise Ship Industry (Getty Images)
By Nick Koutsobinas | Thursday, 03 June 2021 10:20 PM
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's efforts to get cruise safety rules from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thrown out hit another bump. On Thursday, DeSantis said the two had failed to come to an agreement in mediation as part of the governor's lawsuit against the agency.
The breakdown in talks means that cruises would fall into a limbo state while the governor's pressing lawsuit moves forward. So far, cruise ships in Florida have remained docked since March 2020.
Florida lawyers have argued the CDC doesn't have the authority to prevent cruise ships from sailing if they don't comply. The CDC "is moving the goalposts every day and making it impossible for cruise ships to resume sailing," the state alleged in a court filing, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
"We're going to be sailing hopefully very soon," the governor said in a press conference. "But there's not been a single elected official in this country who's done more to liberate the cruise lines from a bureaucracy that is totally out of touch and that quite frankly is exercising authority that they do not possess under the law."
DeSantis went on defending a bill he signed into law last month that would prohibit businesses from requiring customers to show "vaccine-passports" to receive services.
According to AL.com, a letter sent by the CDC stipulates that cruises could resume so long as 95 percent of customers and 98 percent of crew were vaccinated against COVID-19.
The law banning vaccine passports, however won't take effect until July 1, then Florida could impose fines on businesses that attempt to force customers to show proof of vaccination.
Cruise lines are a significant industry in Florida that employed 158,992 people and paid out nearly $8 billion in wages in 2019.