The Florida governor joined the increasingly vocal call from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift the conditional boating ban and allow cruises. Governor DeSantis will be joined by Attorney General Ashley Moody and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Kevin J. Moody. Kevin J. Thibault, P.E., hosted a roundtable discussion in Port Canaveral with cruise industry executives to try to remedy the current situation.
The decision follows a series of recent requests from regulators and Cruise Lines International to allow hard-hit cruise ships to resume operations outside the United States.
Pressure is mounting on the CDC as the cruise industry in the U.S. has been idle for more than a year. Other countries are also opening up and developing plans for cruise operations, especially in the Caribbean.
The Florida governor participated in a roundtable discussion Friday with cruise industry executives to see what can be done, including the economic impact. Comments from officials made it clear that the CDC and the Biden administration had had enough and were justifying the decision not to commission the ships based on old data and before a vaccine was available.
Governor DeSantis, stated:
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past year, it’s that the floodgates don’t work and Floridians deserve the right to earn a living.
The cruise industry is vital to our state’s economy, and keeping the cruise closed until November would be devastating to the men and women who depend on the cruise ships to support themselves and their families. I call on the CDC to immediately repeal this unjustified spider ban so that Floridians can get back to work in this industry.
The CLIA, which represents 95% of the world’s cruise lines, has called for the repeal of the Conditional Navigation Order, which is currently in effect until Jan. 1. Nov. 2021. An organization representing major cruise lines, including Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean, has asked the CDC to allow cruises from U.S. ports until July.
Floridians who depend on our cruise industry to support themselves and their families cannot wait until January 1. November to get back to work. The federal government should lift the ban and allow cruises immediately.
– Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 26, 2021
That same day, the CDC came back and confirmed that the order would be in effect until November 2021. The CDC is still in Phase 1 of the four-phase structure, and frustrations are mounting as Phase 1 has remained unchanged for nearly five months.
Governor DeSantis’ press release states that the administration has issued guidance for all forms of transportation except cruises, of which there are several in Florida.
Photo: Mia2you / Shutterstock.com
Economic impact was an important part of the discussion as Florida is home to the cruise industry with major ports such as Port Miami, Port Tampa, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades and JAXPORT.
The federal government has not supported seaports, although previous packages have included funding for airports. Governor DeSantis is committed to supporting the industry and has already recommended that seaports receive $258.2 million from the state as part of the American Recovery Plan Act 2021.
Attorney General Ashley Moody, said:
The federal government is overstepping its authority by isolating and excluding the cruise industry, while other tourism-based businesses continue to operate under health care guidelines. This large federal surplus hurts our economy, especially Florida’s and our vital tourism industry. That’s why we’re calling on the Biden administration to lift the outdated freeze on the cruise industry in Florida and put the workers who depend on this important industry back to work.
According to a September 2020 report by the Federal Maritime Commission, the first six months of the pandemic in Florida cost $3.2 billion. The $200,000 failure on the cruise.
We also brought up some important numbers in a letter from the Mayor of Miami-Dade asking to meet with the CDC Director before the reopening. This is just one of many calls for the CDC to seek more advice and give the sector a fresh start.
For now, the CDC remains steadfast, and some cruise lines are already starting to look out for other ports outside the U.S., including Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. However, Carnival Cruise Line is determined to continue operating in the United States and has no plans to move its ships to other countries.
Main photo: Governor DeSantis
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