Fla. Gov. DeSantis Sues Biden Admin. to Reopen Cruise Industry: ‘We’re an 800-Pound Gorilla When It Comes to Tourism’

Craig Bannister | April 9, 2021 | 10:53am EDT
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Gov. Ron DeSantis

"We don't believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for over a year based on very little evidence and very little data," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Thursday, announcing that his state is suing the federal government to lift its coronavirus shutdown of the cruise industry.

“We’re an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to tourism – and, I think, if we put our foot down, Florida can help lead the way, yet again,” DeSantis said at a news conference at PortMiami, where he revealed that Florida is suing the Biden Administration, Dept. of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Indeed, "Sixty percent of the nation's cruises come out of Florida," Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told reporters.

The CDC’s no-sail order is currently being enforced until at least November 1, 2021, WPTV reports:

“The CDC first issued its no-sail order at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 following coronavirus outbreaks on several ships. The order, which has been extended until Nov. 1, prevents cruise ships from allowing passengers to embark and disembark from all U.S. ports.

“’Cruise ship operators shall not commence or continue operations... except as approved by USCG, in consultation with HHS/CDC personnel, until further notice,’ the order states.”

DeSantis said the ongoing shutdown order devastating Florida’s economy is both unreasonable and irrational, especially since people will continue to go on cruises – they’ll just leave the country to do it:

“Instead of flying to Miami, spending money to stay in our hotels, spending money to eat in our restaurants before they get on the ship, they're gonna fly to the Bahamas, and they're gonna get on the ship from the Bahamas, and they're gonna spend the money in the Bahamas."

Given the generous availability of the coronavirus vaccine in Florida, it doesn’t make sense to continue to use COVID as an excuse to not take a cruise, Gov. DeSantis said:

“If you’re saying, under that circumstance, that you can’t let the cruise line sail, then you’re basically an anti-vaxxer.”

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