Mediation fails between Florida, CDC over cruise line lawsuit
Mediation between Florida and the CDC over cruising has failed, the Governor's office confirmed to FOX 35 on Thursday.
In April, the state of Florida sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over their 'no-sail' order. Current CDC restrictions allow passengers to sail only if 98 percent of crew members and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated.
However, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law, which will take effect July 1st, that imposes a fine of $5,000 for each customer asked to provide proof of a coronavirus vaccination.
"We are going to enforce Florida law," he previously said. "I mean, we have Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens, and we are going to enforce it. In fact, I have no choice but to enforce it."
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In an update from the Governor's office on Thursday, a mediator appointed to the lawsuit between Florida and the CDC declared an impasse. A compromise between the two was not reached.
"Unfortunately, the CDC has opted to continue its ridiculous and unlawful regulations that target a single industry by imposing vaccine requirements — something no other business or industry must do," the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement. "The CDC did almost nothing to re-open sailing until Florida filed suit. As Florida’s cruise lines address the CDC’s constantly changing labyrinth of requirements for safety plans and simulations, time is of the essence."
DeSantis' Office also added, "While it is a positive sign to see the CDC begin to green light "conditional cruises" following Florida’s lawsuit, there is still no set date upon which cruises can resume business operations. The CDC has no excuse for ruining two summers of sailing and it is well past time to end the CDC's desperate attempt to prolong its power trip over America."
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During a news conference on Thursday, Governor DeSantis said that, "I’ve been fighting for this for nine months… Under current Florida law, [cruise lines] are absolutely able to do it. They all have operations to be able to handle [reopening]. I can tell you I’ve spoken with executives on almost all the major cruise lines, [and] they’re ready to go."
He added that "they were very unreasonable about some of the things that they were asking about to insist upon… Saying you have to wear a mask when you’re sunbathing, I mean some of the stuff they’ve actually put out there, even though you have (Dr. Anthony) Fauci in his emails admitting the masks don’t even stop COVID ... so we’re going to be sailing, hopefully very soon."
However, the Governor remains confident that if they win the case, the cruise lines can handle opening.
A consumer survey conducted over the Memorial Day weekend finds that 80 percent of likely cruisers would prefer to sail with a vaccine requirement in place.
Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.