The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the original no-sail order for cruise ships over one year ago and has indicated it will remain in place until November.
This has prompted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to call on the federal health agency to rescind the order that has affected a major part of Florida’s tourism economy.
On Friday, DeSantis held a roundtable discussion other state officials, cruise industry executives and employees to discuss these actions.
“If there is one thing we’ve learned over the past year, it’s that lockdowns don’t work, and Floridians deserve the right to earn a living,” said Governor DeSantis. “The cruise industry is essential to our state’s economy and keeping it shut down until November would be devastating to the men and women who rely on the cruise lines to provide for themselves and their families. I urge the CDC to immediately rescind this baseless no-sail order to allow Floridians in this industry to get back to work.”
The federal government has provided guidance to all other passenger transportation modes and other industries; however, it has failed to issue guidance for the cruise industry to assist in its recovery.
In addition to the lack of guidance, the federal government has neglected to provide relief funding to seaports while airports and transit agencies have received assistance through previous relief packages. Earlier this month, Governor DeSantis recommended Florida’s seaports receive $258.2 million out of the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to account for the losses accrued due to the no-sail order.
A September 2020 report from the Federal Maritime Commission estimated that during the first 6 months of the pandemic, losses in Florida due to the cruise industry shutdown totalled $3.2 billion in economic activity, including 49,500 jobs paying $2.3 billion in wages. In addition, Florida saw wide-ranging indirect impacts throughout the state – from airports and ground transportation to hotels, restaurants, and tourist destinations.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the cruise industry are part of a larger struggle facing the entire travel industry, which ended 2020 with $1.1 trillion in losses, a 42 percent drop from 2019.