PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just announced the next steps that will bring the cruise industry closer to sailing again. First will come test cruises to be followed by restricted passenger voyages.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the CDC has been taking too long to green-light sailings and expressed his frustration at a news conference in Satellite Beach on Wednesday. Calling their actions "fundamentally unfair," he said the CDC has been holding the cruise industry hostage
"The CDC has mothballed this for over a year, they said it was going to be two weeks last March," DeSantis said.
Arguing that Florida is at risk of losing billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs, Gov. DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit in April against federal health officials for sidelining the cruise industry.
"They are cruising in other parts of the world where they don’t even have availability of vaccines yet, where they have much higher COVID than in the United States. And oh, by the way, if you don’t let them sail from Florida -- which is one of our major industries -- they are going to sail from the Bahamas," DeSantis said. "They are going to fly back to Michigan or Pennsylvania or whatever, having basically just ignored Florida."
Port Canaveral’s CEO, Captain John Murray, said these last 14 months have felt like forever and added that he doesn’t believe cruising will pick back up until July.
"It’s a lot of work to do. These ships have been down the last 14 months. It will be 16 months before they are back up and running and so we have got a tremendous lift here just to get the industry back up and running," Murray said.
As for the lawsuit, DeSantis said that they have a hearing coming up in federal court in Tampa.
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