Friday afternoon, I received an email asking me if I could be a guest on a South Florida TV news station. I would be commenting on news that a federal judge blocked the CDC’s cruise ship restriction.
Winknews.com is reporting, “Saying the “injury to Florida’s economy grows by the day,” a U.S. district judge Friday issued a preliminary injunction against federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention restrictions that have idled cruise ships in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 124-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday was a major victory for Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody, who argue that the CDC overstepped its legal authority as it tried to prevent the spread of the virus.
“CDC cites no historical precedent in which the federal government detained a fleet of vessels for more than a year and imposed comprehensive and impossibly detailed ‘technical guidelines’ before again permitting a vessel to sail,” Merryday wrote. “That is, CDC cites no historical precedent for, in effect, closing an entire industry.”
Moody, backed by DeSantis, filed the lawsuit in April, with the case focusing on a “conditional sailing order” that the CDC issued last fall. The conditional sailing order included a phased approach to resuming cruising, with ship operators needing to meet a series of requirements.
But Merryday cited progress in containing COVID-19 since the conditional sailing order was issued and pointed to cruise ships operating in other parts of the world. He wrote that the conditional sailing order relies on “stale data.”
“With the advent of highly effective vaccines, with more than half of adults fully vaccinated, with infection plummeting, with death from COVID-19 asymptotically approaching zero; with the benefit of effective therapeutics for COVID-19; with masks, safe distancing, and sanitation; and with the successful and safe re-opening of business, including airlines, sporting events, and other high capacity venues, COVID-19 no longer threatens the public’s health to the same extent presented at the start of the pandemic or when CDC issued the conditional sailing order,” the Tampa-based judge wrote.
Merryday, however, put a stay on the preliminary injunction until July 18. At that time, he wrote, “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.”
He gave the CDC until July 2 to propose a “narrower injunction both permitting cruise ships to sail timely and remaining within CDC’s authority as interpreted in this order.” The state would be able to respond to the CDC’s proposal, leading to a hearing.
Also, Merryday ordered the two sides to return to mediation, a process that had reached impasse.
DeSantis and Moody issued statements praising the decision and criticizing federal “overreach.”
Click on the link below for my TV interview:
Click on the link below for the full story referenced in this blog post: