DeSantis Wins Lawsuit Against CDC’s Unlawful Covid Mandates for Cruise Lines

by Vianca Rodriguez

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won a major battle last week against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “No-Sail Orders” for the cruise line industry. The latest court ruling will allow cruise lines to immediately resume operations.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed its initial decision that sided with the CDC on the case Florida v. Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, No. 21-12243, siding instead with the state and deeming unlawful for the CDC to impose rules on the cruise industry.

“[On July 23] after Florida appealed to the United States Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court reversed its earlier decision and sided with the State of Florida against the CDC’s unlawful No-Sail Orders,” a news release from DeSantis’ office stated. “Following this decision, the cruise industry will be able to resume operations without adhering to the CDC’s unlawful and discriminatory rules.”

Rules cruise lines will no longer be required to adhere to include requiring that passengers provide proof of vaccination before onboarding, among other bureaucratic measures that made reopening of cruise lines a burdensome task. 

DeSantis expressed his satisfaction with the decision, stating that the CDC mandates “effectively mothballed the industry for more than a year.” The governor suggested that federal agencies will “be on thin legal and constitutional ice if and when it attempts to exercise such sweeping authority that is not explicitly delineated by law.”

One portion of an Emergency Application to Vacate the Eleventh Circuit’s Stay on the Preliminary Injunction issued by the Supreme Court on Friday stated that the cruise line industry was “fed up with waiting for the CDC to allow [them] to cruise.” The document added that Florida incurred lost revenue and irreparable harm, such as higher unemployment rates that accrued up to “tens of millions of dollars,” as a result of the CDC’s COVID-19 mandates. 

The injunction provided the recent case Alabama Association of Realtors, et. al v. CDC as a legal reason to explain that the CDC does not possess congressional authority to take control of private businesses. As in the case of Florida cruise lines, the agency is exceeding its legal authority.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, one of the leading plaintiffs that filed the lawsuit, has described the CDC in the past as an overreaching federal agency.

“The federal government does not, nor should it ever, have the authority to single out and lock down an entire industry indefinitely,” Moody said. “I am excited to see the cruise industry get sailing again, and proud to stand with Gov. Ron DeSantis against illegal federal overreach and draconian lockdown measures.”

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