Florida is suing the federal government for restrictions in the cruise industry

“We don’t believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for more than a year based on very little evidence and very little data. And I think we have a good chance of success,” Republican government Ron DeSantis said at a press conference in the Port of Miami.

The complaint was filed Thursday by Attorney General Ashley Moody in federal district court against the Health and Human Services Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our lawsuit is designed to end this federal scope and enable Floridians to return to work and travel safely,” Moody said in a statement.

CNN has contacted the CDC and HHS for comment.

The Florida lawsuit comes as the US cruise ship industry puts pressure on the CDC to resume cruising as more Americans are vaccinated and the industry has resumed in other major cruise markets worldwide.

Florida is asking the court to prevent the CDC and HHS from enforcing their October order to “conditional sailing,” which it suggested is in fact a ban on cruises, and “to rule that cruises should operate with reasonable security protocols. “

“The CDC has continued these actions against the cruise industry, even though it has treated similar industries differently, including those in which passengers are detained at close range,” the complaint said.

At the start of the pandemic in March last year, the CDC issued an order for cruise ships operating in US waters, causing cruise lines billions in losses last year.

In October, the CDC announced its “conditional sailing assignment framework”, which detailed regulations for a phased resumption of cruises, including testing all crew members, developing laboratory capacity on board and conducting “simulated voyages”. The warrant is in effect until Nov. 1, or when Covid-19 is no longer a public health emergency, or the CDC director withdraws or changes it.

The CDC released guidelines on Friday outlining how it expects sailings to resume – recommending passengers rather than being vaccinated. The agency said it wanted to see “simulated (pilot) voyages that allow crew and port personnel to practice new Covid-19 operating procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers.”

The CDC has not specified a date on which it plans to allow U.S. sailings again for the first time since March 2020.

Both DeSantis and Moody warned that if the US cruise industry doesn’t reopen, tourists will try to book cruises in other countries, resulting in lost revenue for Florida and other states.

DeSantis said tens of thousands of Floridians depend on the “viability of the cruise industry for their livelihoods, for their jobs, and for their ability to feed their families.”

Moody accused Biden’s government of being unwilling to “lift these no-sailing orders and consider allowing us to resume this booming industry with reasonable health protocols.”

CNN’s Kevin Conlon, Chris Isidore and Francesca Street contributed to this report.