Florida Wins Major Victory Over The CDC
The State of Florida has won a major victory in court over the CDC which had a no sail order in effect since March of 2020. A federal judge saw fit to lift the ban on sailing after being won over by cruise industry attorneys arguing on behalf of lifting the ban. The CDC remains skeptical, Florida is now one of the states leading a new surge in cases and hospitalizations with hospitals staking patients up in the hallways. The new Delta variant is three times more infectious that the original strain, and is apparently now believed to be more deadly.
Essentially, the ruling places a preliminary injunction on the CDC’s no sail order that would ostensibly allow the cruise industry to begin offering cruises again. A 124-page ruling detailed that the judge believed that the State of Florida was “very likely” to win their lawsuit on the grounds that the CDC has exceeded its authority. The State of Emergency declared by the Whitehouse, however, remains in effect.
The CDC’s official authority over this matter, however, is set to expire on July 18. The judge ordered his decree to go into effect just after midnight on July 19. At that point, the CDC’s recommendations will become “guidelines” and “recommendations” as opposed to official orders.
So, does that mean I can cruise now?
Well, it’s hard to say. Florida and Alaska have both filed lawsuits against the CDC to revoke its authority to limit sailing. However, several cruise lines were testing sailing under the new CDC recommendations. Meanwhile, states like Florida have severely limited lawsuits filed against companies that negligently expose their passengers to danger. Companies that show that they made an effort to prevent the spread of COVID or were in “substantial compliance” with public health recommendations would be immune to lawsuits filed against them based on COVID exposure. This means that all passengers will be sailing at their own risk.
However, the CDC has until July 2 to respond and propose a set of narrower recommendations for the cruise industry. The State of Florida would then have seven days to respond to their response. So, while the injunction limits the aegis of the CDC to target specific industries, the pandemic remains an issue with more folks falling ill with the variant.
Governor DeSantis was happy with the result and the numerous protections that he’s afforded the cruise industry from liability related to COVID. Meanwhile, passengers are in a position where, if they decide to go cruising this year, they are assuming the risk of potentially falling ill with the virus and any and all consequences that might bring. Lawsuits related to COVID are unlikely to succeed, so tread lightly, obey the guidelines that are enforceable, and remember to get vaccinated before you expose yourself to danger.
Talk to a Miami Cruise Ship Liability Lawyer
Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford will likely not be able to file COVID-19 infection lawsuits on your behalf. But other causes of action are still permissible. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.