The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is permitted to enforce its framework for cruise ships returning to operation, overturning a district court ruling that would have made the agency's guidelines only suggestions, Axios reported on Sunday.
The three-judge panel voted 2-1 that the federal government had demonstrated "requisite showing" to obtain the stay order allowing the CDC regulations to remain in place.
The CDC argued that by maintaining its safety protocols for cruises, it was not shutting down the industry but instead giving them a framework to continue operating safely during the coronavirus pandemic, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
The CDC had originally released a conditional sail order last October in an effort to keep cases down on ships and prevent the virus from spreading in local communities.
The order included a four-phased approach that would allow ships to start sailing again based on, among other things, testing of crew members, testing requirements for passengers and restricted voyage lengths.
The resumption of cruise ship activity has been a high political priority in Florida, with Gov. Ron DeSantis having campaigned for the resumption of the industry, which is worth billions of dollars to the state’s economy.
U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday last month had granted a temporary injunction against the CDC framework for cruise ships, the Miami Herald reported, after De Santis had sued the CDC in April over the issue.
DeSantis praised that injunction as a "victory for Florida families" and said that “the CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it.”
The governor had argued that the CDC requirements were overly burdensome and harmed the industry and revenue collected by the state, USA Today reported.
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