Brevard County

DeSantis asks CDC to lift order keeping Florida’s passenger cruise industry in limbo

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis said cruises should be allowed to sail with passengers, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“We need to be able to get these cruise lines operating again,” DeSantis said during a news conference on Friday.

State leaders are also working to push back against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “conditional sail order.”

Watch: Floridians age 16 & 17 will soon be eligible for this COVID-19 vaccine

Cruise industry leaders said it is time that the cruise business be treated like any other segment of the travel industry.

DeSantis said even if the order was lifted now, the cruise lines said it would take months to be ready to sail again.

Cruise companies have furloughed a good portion of their workforce, and supplies are sitting in warehouses.

They do need a date certain for cruising to begin, so they can get things back in order.

Read: Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay to open Orlando restaurant

DeSantis held a roundtable discussion at Port Canaveral on Friday morning to discuss a return to cruising.

He heard from industry leaders who told him the CDC’s outdated conditional sail order isn’t allowing cruise lines to get back to work.

“The protocols that have been put into place already by the cruise industry go above what we’ve seen in any other part of travel and entertainment,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

DeSantis recently recommended that lawmakers allocate nearly $260 million out of the state’s share of the American Rescue Alan act, to make up for the losses Florida’s seaports suffered during the pandemic shutdown.

Read: How Orange County plans to deal with COVID-19 vaccine appointment demand as eligibility increases

The state has also not ruled out taking legal action.

“It’s incredibly important as we examine all options and determine what our legal options are to push back against this government overreach into an industry that’s so vitally important to the success of the state,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.

The governor and others hope it won’t come to that.