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Florida sues CDC, demanding cruise ships be allowed to sail immediately

PORT OF MIAMI, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding cruises be allowed to begin sailing again from Florida’s ports.

“Today Florida’s fighting back. We’re filing a lawsuit against the federal government and the CDC, demanding that our cruise ships be reopened immediately,” DeSantis said standing in front of a group of furloughed port workers at the Port of Miami on Thursday.

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Florida filed a lawsuit Thursday morning against the CDC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Biden Administration demanding the no sail order be lifted.

Earlier in the week, the CDC added new guidelines for cruise lines, saying ships must make test voyages, implement routine coronavirus testing and develop a strategy to vaccinate crews. However, the CDC has also adjusted travel guidelines adding that vaccinated individuals can travel domestically and internationally.

The CDC has not made it clear when it would lift its no sail order.

Cruise lines stopped sailing nearly a year ago in the U.S.

Multiple cruise lines have canceled trips through late summer. Carnival Cruise Line canceled sailings through June and Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is seeking permission to resume trips from U.S. ports on July 4, requiring passengers and crew members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks before the trip.

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The Miami company said its precautions go well beyond steps taken by others in the travel and leisure industry that have already reopened, including airlines, hotel, restaurants and sporting events.

Monica Sebata, a former employee with Cruiseport Destinations in Miami, said workers in the industry are struggling not only financially but mentally.

“We don’t want to hand out. What we want is to go back to work. What we need is to go back to work. It’s not just the financial aspect, it’s the emotional and the mental and the physical well being of these people of all of us,” Sebata said.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Miami) joined DeSantis criticizing the U.S. for preventing cruises from sailing when other countries have reopened the industry.

“They’re sailing in Asia, they’re sailing in Europe and the United States is actually the leader in vaccinate and vaccinations. It’s time to let these ships sail, it’s time to let these people get back to work,” Gimenez said.

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Check back for updates on this developing story.

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