Sun. Sep 19th, 2021

A Florida federal judge has ruled that the Centers for Disease Control cannot enforce its Covid-19 restriction on the cruise industry after 18 July.

The decision was welcomed by the state’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis who sued the federal government health agency in April.

US District Judge Steven Merryday ruled that the CDC’s sailing order will be a “non-binding ‘consideration’, ‘recommendation’ or ‘guideline’” when applied to cruise sailings from the state next month.

In siding with Florida he approved the state’s motion for a preliminary injunction suspending the CDC guidelines until 18 July.

Cruise ships have not been permitted to carry passengers from the United States since March 2020.

The CDC’s conditional sailing order states that cruise liners can sail quickly if 95 per cent of crew and passengers have been vaccinated.

If that is not the case then the CDC requires cruise companies to take volunteers on “test” cruises to prove they can handle the risk of Covid-19.

“The CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it,” said Mr DeSantis in a statement.

“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.”

Judge Merryday was highly critical of the CDC in his ruling.

“Never has CDC conditioned pratique as extensively and burdensomely as the conditional sailing order; and never has CDC imposed restrictions that have summarily dismissed the effectiveness of state regulation and halted for an extended time an entire multi-billion dollar industry nationwide,” he concluded.

“In a word, never has CDC implemented measures as extensive, disabling, and exclusive as those under review in this action.”

The Independent has reached out to the CDC for comment.

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