Judge Rules in Favor of Florida in Lawsuit Against CDC

A Federal Judge has ruled in favor of the State of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis in a lawsuit challenging the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order. This suit was first presented back in April which petitioned the court to, “set aside the CDC’s unlawful actions and hold that cruises should be allowed to operate with reasonable safety protocols.” 

Tampa-based U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday presented a 124-page decision that states Florida would be harmed if the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) continues. Judge Merryday granted a preliminary injunction that prevents the CDC from enforcing the order, pending additional legal action on a broader Florida lawsuit. The order will go into effect just after midnight on July 18, 2021. 

This ruling contained the following decisions (as shared by the Office of Gov. DeSantis):

  • The CDC cannot discriminately keep children and families from cruising;
  • Neither the CDC, nor any federal agency, can require a vaccine passport; and
  • The CDC must create an actual framework for businesses to resume operations, rather than forcing them to conduct burdensome and bureaucratic tests without any standard by which to be measured. 

“This order finds that Florida is highly likely to prevail on the merits of the claim that CDC’s conditional sailing order and the implementing orders exceed the authority delegated to the CDC,” wrote Judge Merryday. 

According to a report by the Associated Press, the CDC can appeal this decision. Judge Merryday has “ordered both sides to return to mediation to attempt to work out a full solution — a previous attempt failed — and said the CDC could fashion a modification in which it would retain some public health authority.” 

Since October, cruise lines have been working towards the resumption of cruising under the CDC’s conditional sailing order. Operators are currently in Phases 2B and 3 of the CSO, with ships in various stages of simulated voyages as well as preparing for restricted passenger sailings. This past weekend, Royal Caribbean International became the first line to participate in a simulated sailing on Freedom of the Seas from PortMiami. 

Read the full ruling from the Federal Court here

Sources: AP News

This is a breaking news story. We will share additional updates as they become available. 


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