A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction blocking the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from enforcing its no-sail order for cruises. This gives the state of Florida a head start in its lawsuit against the federal government.
The federal government had shut down all cruises in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The shutdown was initially for a period of 30 days but later got extended. Florida, considered the nation’s cruise capital, had suffered massive losses due to the shutdown and filed a lawsuit against the CDC in April.
The judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida found Friday that the CDC cannot discriminately keep children and families from cruising; neither the CDC nor any federal agency can require a vaccine passport; and the CDC must create an actual framework for businesses to resume operations, rather than forcing them to conduct burdensome and bureaucratic tests without any standard by which to be measured.
The judge further held, “Never has CDC implemented measures as extensive, disabling and exclusive as those under review in this action.” The injunction was stayed until July 18, after which time the CDC’s sailing order will only persist as a non-binding “consideration.”
Governor Ron DeSantis said, “The state fought on behalf of the cruise industry in Florida to secure the ability to resume operations without overly burdensome requirements that discriminate against children, leave most of the ships sitting in port, and disregard the freedom of Floridians to make decisions for their families.”
The order allows the CDC to propose a “narrower” injunction fully supported by current scientific evidence by July 2 to allow cruise ships to sail timely and remain within the agency’s authority.