DeSantis sues to get cruise ships sailing again

Gov DeSantis during his live press conference in Port Canaveral. Photo courtesy of NBC News

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has one question for the U.S. government: “When are cruises sailing again?”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had shut down the cruise industry along with many other sectors of the economy almost a year ago at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Now, with a vaccine distribution underway in most states, DeSantis is going to court to reignite this  booming industry.

The CDC has not updated its guidelines regarding cruises ships, which has led Florida officials to file a lawsuit to get one of their biggest tourism attractions back up and running.

“When they are sailing, there is more economic opportunity for people across a wide range of businesses. It affects a lot of jobs. What we need is a way forward. Is it OK for the government to idle an industry for a year with no end in sight?” DeSantis during his press conference in Port Canaveral.

With a “no sail” order in place since late October, government officials are wasting no time  gathering support to push the Biden administration to address the status of operations for the cruise industry. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, joined by other members of Congress, sent a letter to the administration; addressed to the White House COVID coordinator detailing their questions and concerns to resume cruising.

“We now have better information to keep Americans healthy, mitigate the virus, and provide the resources and tools to a variety of industries, such as tourism and travel, so they may safely resume. President Biden stated that the United States will have enough vaccine doses for every American adult by the end of May, with a goal of returning to our ‘new normal’ by July 4, 2021. Yet, the administration has overlooked an entire industry by failing to provide guidance for the safe resumption of cruises. The future of the cruise industry and thousands of good paying jobs at our state’s ports and supporting businesses are now at stake,” stated the letter urging the administration to lift the  ban on cruise ships.

Although cruise ships are one of Florida’s most profitable activities, some avid patrons believe it could be way too soon to sail off the coast of Florida. Shapree Finely, a frequent cruiser and Florida resident, recalls her experiences on cruises and believes it might be worth the wait for health and safety concerns.

“It’s not that safe at all honestly. Everything is enclosed. Except for the deck and even then, people are basically on top of each other. It wouldn’t make sense to start doing cruises because all of the actual fun things to do you’d be in close proximity to a lot of different people from all over. People are definitely not going to wear a mask because they’re on vacation,” Finely said.

Although Florida was one of the nation’s first epicenters for the virus last summer, officials are still pushing to regain business to Florida’s largest economy markets. Now it is up to the courts to decide.