TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Attorney General's fight to re-open the cruise line industry will soon be heard before a judge. The lawsuit filed by Ashley Moody last month challenges the CDC's restrictions imposed on cruises.
Beginning Wednesday, a U.S. District Judge will hear arguments in the case.
The attorney general is asking for a preliminary injunction against the restrictions that they say have kept the industry on lockdown for more than a year.
The fight to get Florida's cruise line industry back on course will soon play out in court.
"The CDC specifically has refused to put in place workable guidance to allow cruise ships to begin sailing again," Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said.
It's why Moody filed a 21-page lawsuit against the federal government and the CDC last month asking the court to allow cruises to operate. In the suit attorneys for the AG argue the CDC overstepped its legal authority in imposing the restrictions.
"This is so very important because if this administration does not allow our cruises to begin operating again we are at real risk of losing those cruise lines," Moody said.
Since the pandemic began, The Florida Ports Council estimates the state has lost 169,000 jobs and nearly $23 billion in economic activity.
"All of our major cruise ports have had to revise their operating budgets for the entire port. They've cut expenses. They haven't purchased as much. In some cases, they've laid people off," Florida Ports Council Vice-President of Governmental Affairs Michael Rubin said.
As Rubin explains it's hard to say how much longer cruise lines can go without operating as companies struggle to make up losses.
In court documents filed this week, attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice cited outbreaks early in the pandemic aboard cruise ships, saying that the "experiences demonstrated that cruise ships are uniquely suited to spread COVID-19."
"Cruises are operating in other countries and they are doing so with little to no spread. We can do that in the United States," Moody said.
Since the lawsuit was filed, Texas and Alaska have also joined the suit.