Florida’s attorney general asked the Supreme Court on Friday to step in on an emergency basis to block Covid-19 protocols put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requiring the cruise lines to meet certain conditions before they can sail again.
The dispute comes as the industry is attempting to ramp up operations but also as a new variant strain of the virus is taking hold.
Florida went to court to block the CDC protocols while the legal dispute plays out, and initially won when a district court granted its request. But a federal appeals court sided with the CDC, leaving the rules in place for now.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has, for the better part of 16 months, shut down the entire Nation’s cruise industry,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody argued in the new petition.
She objected to the new regulations that require cruise ships to implement specific ventilation standards aboard the ships, impose “pervasive” testing and reporting requirements, and “apply social distancing requirements throughout the ship, including in outdoor areas like pools and spas and while waiting for the bathroom.”
She said that CDC exceeded its authority and would need “clear and specific congressional authorization” for the regulations.
The imposition of the rules, Moody argued “continues to harm an industry on which 159,000 Floridians rely for work and is devastating countless other businesses and industries that also rely on cruising.”
In another Covid-related case, a divided Supreme Court last month denied a request to block a CDC order that prohibits landlords nationwide from evicting certain tenants amid the pandemic. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with the court’s three liberals to keep the moratorium in place for now.