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Legal Victory for DeSantis as Florida’s Cruise Industry Allowed to Reopen

Judge Steven Merryday concluded that CDC restrictions are likely unconstitutional

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The Federal District Court in Tampa on Friday handed Governor Ron DeSantis a victory against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its orders to ban cruising. With that, Florida’s cruise industry is back in business.

In ruling in favor of Florida’s motion for a preliminary injunction, Judge Steven Merryday also concluded that the CDC’s restrictions are likely unconstitutional and in excess of his statutory authority.

The cruise industry will soon be able to set sail again thanks to the lawsuit filed by Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Moody. “The state fought on behalf of the cruise industry in Florida to secure the ability to resume operations without overly burdensome requirements that discriminate against children, leave most of the ships sitting in port, and disregard the freedom of Floridians to make decisions for their families,” the governor’s office said on its official website.

Return of cruise ships in Florida

As of July 18, CDC orders will become guidance and cruise ships will hit the open seas once again. The return of the cruise industry marks an important milestone in the state’s post-pandemic return to normalcy.

“The CDC has been wrong all along and they knew it,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

He added, “The CDC and the Biden administration devised a plan to sink the cruise industry by hiding behind bureaucratic delays and lawsuits. Today, we are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for all states who want to preserve their rights in the face of unprecedented federal overreach.”

Included in the ruling, the Middle District Court of Florida also determined:

  1. CDC may not discriminatorily prevent children and families from traveling by cruise ship;
  2. neither the CDC nor any federal agency may require an immunization passport; and
  3. the CDC must create a real framework for companies to resume operations, rather than forcing them to perform cumbersome and bureaucratic testing with no standard against which to measure.
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