Florida Filing Lawsuit Against CDC To Resume Cruises
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that he will file a lawsuit against the CDC to allow the cruise industry to once again operate. The cruise industry has been sidelined ever since the advent of COVID in early March of 2020. The Governor is hoping to get cruise lines treated like airlines and does not believe that the federal government has a right to shut down an entire industry based on what he claims is “very little evidence and little data”. However, there is a lot of evidence and a lot of data concerning the contributions made by the cruise industry in spreading the pandemic between individuals and between continents.
Will the lawsuit prevail?
If Florida challenges the federal government’s right to issue protocols during a pandemic, they will lose. If Florida challenges the science behind shutting down these industries, they will also lose. If Florida challenges the continued mothballing of a major industry on which millions depend on for their livelihood, they will lose.
In a lawsuit like this, if the Governor challenges the right of federal authorities to protect their citizens and hospitals from an infectious disease, they will lose. From what DeSantis said, he doesn’t believe that the federal government has a “right” to sideline the cruise industry. That means that regardless of how widespread the pandemic was at any point, there would be no point at which the federal government would be allowed to intervene. Unless this is completely about optics and DeSantis standing up to “federal tyranny” then there’s no point at all.
However, the cruise industry was asked to submit proposals to the CDC for safely allowing cruises to continue. They met or exceeded guidelines that were imposed on similar industries, like the airlines, but the federal government appears not to trust the industry to self-regulate in this manner, and given the cruise industry’s track record, rightfully so. Further, Florida has passed laws that could prevent cruise passengers from filing lawsuits based on COVID-19 exposure. So anyone who did fall ill or die on a cruise could be blocked from filing a lawsuit against the cruise line.
Has the cruise industry done enough to convince the CDC to resume operations?
Well, that’s the question. The cruise environment is much different than that on an airline or theme park. On an airplane you have limited exposure for limited time and the air is recirculated through HEPA filters. Theme parks limit the number of guests and are primarily outside. The cruise industry on the other hand is a volume business. Their business model requires that the they “pack them in there”. Until vaccination levels are above 50% and the cruise lines come up with a plan/model that requires passengers to show proof of vaccination and how to social distance on board, it cannot be allowed to sail again. Remember this is an industry that continued sailing even after the risks of Covid were known and took no steps to protect is passengers or crew and was one of the primary spreader vectors in the world.
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