Florida vs. CDC cruise lawsuit: Court rules in favor of Florida against conditional sail order

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The ruling means the CDC cannot enforce its order against a ship from a Florida port, but the court is delaying its enforcement until July 18. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

TAMPA (WFLA) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are claiming victory following a federal court’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its conditional sail order.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday comes as part of a larger lawsuit brought by the state of Florida that contends the CDC has overstepped its authority.

In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis filed a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding that it lifts its no-sail order for cruise ships.

In March, the CDC said cruise lines may be able to resume voyages by this July, but must follow strict rules. First, a cruise ship must have 98% of its crew and 95% of its passengers fully vaccinated.

“The CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The CDC and the Biden Administration concocted a plan to sink the cruise industry, hiding behind bureaucratic delay and lawsuits. Today, we are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for every state that wants to preserve its rights in the face of unprecedented federal overreach.”

By granting the injunction, the court deemed that the state of Florida was likely to succeed in the overall case on its merits of irreparable harm, demonstrating the state would be harmed if the order continues and the CDC has likely exceeded its authority, but also sent both the state and CDC back to mediation.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the hardworking Floridians whose livelihoods depend on the cruise industry,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. “The federal government does not, nor should it ever, have the authority to single out and lock down an entire industry indefinitely.”

The ruling means the CDC cannot enforce its order against a ship from a Florida port, but the court is delaying its enforcement until July 18.

Roger Frizzell, spokesman for Carnival Cruise Line, said the company was in the process of reviewing the court’s findings, according to NBC News.

The court has given the CDC until July 2 to come back with a more narrow set of guidelines for cruise ships,
but they must publish the scientific backing for any further measures they require cruise ships to adehere to.

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