Court blocks order lifting CDC virus rules on cruise ships; DeSantis to appeal

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restrictions on Florida-based cruise ships will remain in place after the issuance of a temporary stay.

A lawsuit, championed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, says the CDC’s rules are overly burdensome, harming both a multibillion-dollar industry that provides over 150,000 statewide jobs and revenue collected by the state. U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday concurred and earlier this month, ruled that the CDC’s rules cannot be enforced and should instead be considered non-binding recommendations.

However, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court temporarily blocked the ruling just ten minutes before it would have come into effect.

“The undisputed evidence shows that unregulated cruise ship operations would exacerbate the spread of COVID-19, and that the harm to the public that would result from such operations cannot be undone,” the CDC said in a court filing.

On Monday, DeSantis said he remains confident that Florida will win its legal battle. “So, we are absolutely going to pursue, to get the stay removed, either at the full 11th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court,” adding, “and honestly I’m confident that we will win in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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