Alaska Joins Florida’s Suit Against CDC to Restart Cruising in the U.S.
This week, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced that the state would be joining Florida’s lawsuit against the CDC in an effort to resume cruising operations in the United States. The lawsuit challenges the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order and petitions the court to “set aside the CDC’s unlawful actions and hold that cruises should be allowed to operate with reasonable safety protocols.” Like Florida, the cruise industry plays a very significant role in the economy of Alaska. Here's what we know so far about Alaska's announcement.
“Alaska has urged the CDC to withdraw or amend its Conditional Sailing Order to allow for a cruise season in Alaska. Alaskan families and small businesses need fast action to protect their ability to work and provide for their families. We have been told to follow the science and facts. Cruise ships have demonstrated their ability to provide for the safety of passengers and crew, and Alaska has led the nation in vaccinations and low hospitalization rates. We deserve the chance to have tourism and jobs,” said Governor Dunleavy.
YouTube - Governor Mike Dunleavy
According to the state’s official announcement regarding joining the suit, the Conditional Sailing Order “fails to recognize the cruise industry’s voluntary safety measures and the safe resumption of cruising in other countries. Over 400,000 passengers have returned to cruising in nearly a dozen other countries, resulting in less than 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19.”
The announcement also calls out that the Conditional Sailing Order does not take into account the high vaccination rate of Alaskans, the effectiveness of the vaccines against COVID-19, and the overall current low COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Alaska.
Last week, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan joined Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio introduced a new bill to override the CDC’s No Sail Order. This legislation, named the CRUISE Act, seeks to revoke the current No Sail Order on cruises and require the CDC to provide new guidance for cruise lines to resume sailing operations in the US. This week, Alaska Representative Mike Young joined support of a similar bill against the CDC introduced in the House of Representatives.
Alaska’s 2021 season has already been impacted by the Government of Canada’s decision to extend its ban for all cruise vessels carrying over 100 passengers through February 28, 2022. Governor Dunleavy has signed a bill urging the U.S. Congress to exempt cruise ships from the Passenger Vessel Services Act while Canada’s ban remains in effect.