The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is inching toward bringing back cruises under certain conditions, but Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to blast them for inaction and what he calls not following the science.
“I can tell you, I want the cruise ships going,” DeSantis said to applause in Satellite Beach Wednesday.
“We also want our cruise lines to open. The CDC has mothballed this for a year. They said it was going to be two weeks last March,” DeSantis said, referring to a no-sail order imposed during the Donald Trump administration, but which seems to nettle him more since the new President took over.
“Now here we are a year later and there’s no end in sight,” he groused. “Now they say you can only cruise if you have 98% of people show proof of vaccination. But that’s ridiculous. They’re cruising in other parts of the world where they don’t even have availability of vaccines yet, where they have much higher COVID than in the United States.”
DeSantis noted during a second stop in Fort Myers that requirement means “families can’t cruise because the kids aren’t authorized yet, and even if this happens in emergency use, that’s for teens and not young kids.”
He said banning domestic boarding and offloading of cruises is pointless and just allows cruisers to “ignore Florida.”
“If you don’t let them sail from Florida,” DeSantis noted, “they’re going to sail from the Bahamas.”
He said that was “fundamentally unfair” and “makes no sense” and noted that a lawsuit first floated against the federal government in March was still live and that a hearing was pending.
DeSantis noted the toll the shutdown took on those who depend on the industry for their livelihoods, including “deaths from despair, deaths from people who got involved with drugs and substance abuse or suicide” because their “livelihoods were shattered by what the CDC did.”
He also pointed to “larger implications than just cruise ships sailing or not,” with bureaucrats potentially pausing any industry at will.
“With all due respect to the CDC, if you look at some of the stuff they’ve done on school openings, where they’re basically doing the teachers unions’ bidding, where they say these kids should be masked at summer camp outdoors, I’m sorry, that’s not science, that’s politics,” DeSantis said, predicting a “big victory for the people of Florida” in the suit.
DeSantis takes a more hardline position on how cruises open than some other prominent Republicans from Florida. Former Gov. Rick Scott said he “absolutely” wants cruises back, and the vaccination precondition that nettles DeSantis does not faze the Senator.