(CMR) A federal judge has ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot enforce the rules and restrictions it designed for cruise ships to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but that these rules should be nonbinding recommendations.
US District Judge Steven Merryday, in granting Florida a preliminary injunction against the CDC, said the state was “highly likely” to prevail in its suit, which argues that the agency exceeded its authority by issuing a framework of rules on how to reopen.
The judge ruled that as of July 18 the CDC’s rules for operating cruise ships must be considered nonbinding guidelines or recommendations. Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis said the ruling was a victory.
“The CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it. 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,” said DeSantis who claimed the CDC was trying to “sink” the cruise industry. The Washington Post.
According to HuffPost, the agency had told cruise ship operators they first needed to build onboard laboratories to process coronavirus tests. Next, the companies needed to complete a simulated cruise on each ship to demonstrate COVID-19 prevention strategies and make plans ahead of time with health care providers in port cities in case someone onboard came down with the virus.
The CDC had also planned to issue a “conditional sailing certificate” to individual ships that could show they planned to sail with at least 95% of passengers vaccinated against COVID-19.