Ron DeSantis Wins Battle Against CDC to Protect Florida’s Cruise Industry

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Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) scored a major political victory for the Sunshine State’s cruise industry on Friday after taking on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — which he said effectively placed a vaccine passport mandate on the industry: the federal district court in Tampa ruled in favor of Florida’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, concluding the CDC’s guidelines “are likely unconstitutional and overstepping their legal authority” and claiming a “startlingly magnified power.”

DeSantis’s office announced the political victory on Friday evening, relaying Judge Steven Merryday’s conclusion that the government agency’s restrictions are “likely unconstitutional and overstepping their legal authority.” Because of the administration’s lawsuits, ships will be able to set sail without being caught in the middle, attempting to walk the line between following government guidelines and breaking Florida’s law banning the use of vaccine passports, which goes into effect July 1.

But, beginning July 18, the CDC’s orders will “become mere ‘guidance,’ and cruise ships will hit the open waters once again free from the CDC,” his office announced, describing the win as an “important milestone in the fight for freedom.”

In its ruling, the court noted that the CDC had never “detained a vessel for more than fifteen months,” adding:

Never has CDC implemented a widespread or industry-wide detention of a fleet of vessels in American waters; never has CDC condition 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.

“In a word, never has CDC implemented measures as extensive, disabling and exclusive as those under review in this action,” it found, continuing, “However, in this action CDC claims a startlingly magnified power.”

Per the ruling;

Because of (1) Florida’s probability of success on the merits, (2) the imminent threat of irreparable injury to Florida, (3) the comparative injury depending on whether an injunction issues, and (4) the imminent and material threat to the public interest, Florida’s motion for preliminary injunction is GRANTED, and CDC is PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from enforcing against a cruise ship arriving in, within, or departing from a port in Florida the conditional sailing order and the later measures (technical guidelines, manuals, and the like). However, the preliminary injunction is STAYED until 12:01 a.m. EDT on JULY 18, 2021, at which time the conditional sailing order and the measures promulgated under the conditional sailing order will persist as only a non-binding “consideration,” “recommendation” or “guideline,” the same tools used by CDC when addressing the practices in other similarly situated industries, such as airlines, railroads, hotels, casinos, sports venues, buses, subways, and others.

“The CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it,” DeSantis said in a statement following the news. “The CDC and the Biden Administration concocted a plan to sink the cruise industry, hiding behind bureaucratic delay and lawsuits.”

“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,” he added.

DeSantis initially announced the lawsuit in April, stating the need to “vindicate the state’s rights and the rights of the state in court and also vindicate the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of Floridians who depend on this industry.”

“We’re going to keep at this until we finally get it open,” he vowed.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News this month, the Republican governor made it clear the state’s issues were rooted with the federal government, not necessarily the cruise industry.

He explained:

Just understand. If the CDC would take their boot off the necks of the industry, they would sail from Florida. This is not as much a disagreement between Florida and the cruise lines as it is between [the] CDC. So cruise lines are kind of caught in the middle because [the] CDC has issued all these mandates saying, “OK, you can finally sail, but you got to do all this stuff.” So they’re in the position where they have the feds coming down on them and saying they have to do it one way.

He added, “We win the case or have some sort of mediated agreement where they can cruise. They will absolutely cruise from Florida.”

“You can bet your bottom dollar on that,” he promised.

This major ruling followed another political victory this week after Royal Caribbean announced that vaccine passports would not be required for cruises departing from Florida ports.

This month, Celebrity Cruises announced that two passengers aboard the Celebrity Millenium tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus, despite its status as a “fully vaccinated” ship.

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