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No ruling from judge for DeSantis vs. CDC over cruises

No ruling from judge for DeSantis vs. CDC over cruises
No ruling from judge for DeSantis vs. CDC over cruises
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Gov. Ron DeSantis is going head-to-head with the CDC over cruise lines, the state's biggest industry.

DeSantis sued the CDC over its "Sail Order," insisting it's illegal for the federal government to single out cruise lines and require them to ensure all passengers and crew members are vaccinated in order to resume operations.

At the end of the month, Celebrity Edge will set sail becoming the first cruise out of Fort Lauderdale since March 2020. That will officially mark the return of Florida's multi-billion dollar cruise industry.

In late April, the CDC issues the "Conditional Sailing Order," which outlines the steps cruise lines need to follow in order to get back on the water. At the top of that list is requiring that 98 percent of crew members and 95 percent of passengers be fully vaccinated.

The CDC order, which will not be updated until November at the earliest, came just days before DeSantis banned the so-called vaccine passports. The governor argues that getting vaccinated is a personal choice and people should not be denied access to services based on vaccination status, which directly conflicts with the CDC order.

Jim Walker is a Miami Maritime attorney who is well known for his work and commentary on the cruise industry.

"It’s really quite remarkable that a pro-business governor is taking this position," Walker told CBS12 News. "That he’s going to handcuff these cruise lines from going about their business in a matter that seems fit."

"For the governor to step in and tell businesses they can’t allow this, it does concern some conservatives that that may be some government overreach," said Kevin Wagner, a political science professor.

The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 95 percent of the industry globally, seems to agree with the governor. In a statement, they called the guidance "disappointing."

No cruise company joined the governor in his lawsuit, probably because on the legal end, there is precedent for the CDC to intercede in the situation involving cruises. That could lead to a legal defeat for the governor, if not a political one.

"I don’t think he’s going to win the lawsuit," Walker said. "Legally, the state of Florida and the governor are in the wrong."

"For a lot of people that agree with the governor’s position, the fact that he’s making this fight is supportive enough for him. For the people who oppose him, and think he’s going to lose this, they think it’s a waste of time and resources. In a lot of ways, it depends who you ask," Wagner told CBS12 News.

Last month, both sides appeared in court to make their arguments. A Tampa federal judge assigned to the case ordered them to go into mediation.

As of Tuesday, CBS12 News has not heard from either side about a possible deal. A clerk for the judge told CBS12 News there is no timeline for when he could make a ruling.

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