Cruises

Alaska Joins Florida to Sue the CDC Due to Cruise Shutdown

The Governor of Alaska announced this week he would be joining Governor DeSantis of Florida in the lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The cruise industry has traditionally played a significant role in Alaska’s economy, as it does for the economy of Florida.

Challenging the CDC’s Shutdown of the Cruise Industry

The announcement from Governor Mike Dunleavy that the state of Alaska will join the lawsuit that Florida has started against the CDC and the Federal Government comes when cruising worldwide is making a restart, while the industry is at a complete standstill in the US.

The lawsuit states that the shutdown of the cruise industry through the Conditional Sailing Order goes well beyond the scope and legal authority of the CDC. According to Mike Dunleavy, the Order fails to recognize the safety measures the cruise industry is proposing.

It also ignores the fact that the US is behind the rest of the world in restarting cruising responsibly and that more than 400,000 people have already sailed aboard a cruise ship since August of last year.

Also Read: Why the CDC’s Silence Puts the U.S. Cruise Industry on Edge

Those affiliated with the cruise industry in the State of Alaska are already facing financial hardships, particularly as many had expected to be able to go back to work this summer. Something that seems out of the question, particularly in Alaska. The first real cruises are now expected to occur at the end of the summer or early fall—a timeline too late to save the Alaskan cruise season.

Mike Dunleavy said the following:

“Alaska has urged the CDC to withdraw or amend its Conditional Sailing Order to allow for a cruise season in Alaska. Alaskan families and small businesses need fast action to protect their ability to work and provide for their families. We have been told to follow the science and facts. Cruise ships have demonstrated their ability to provide for the safety of passengers and crew, and Alaska has led the nation in vaccinations and low hospitalization rates. We deserve the chance to have tourism and jobs,”

Too Many Aspects Not Recognized by CDC

Many have made the point over the last few weeks and reiterated by Dunleavy that the CDC seems to be ignoring facts, while it states it is following the science. The Conditional Sailing Order has not considered the high vaccination rates the State of Alaska has, how effective it has proven to be in Alaska, and the low numbers of COVID hospitalizations the state has seen.

As stated before, it neither supports nor recognizes the cruise lines’ efforts in securing ships and the 400,000 passengers that have sailed worldwide with less than 50 cases on board. While many other industries have returned to operating and conducting business in the new normal, the cruise industry has been denied that change.

Governor Mike Dunleavy:

“CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order treats the cruise industry, and the jobs and businesses that depend on tourism, differently from other travel sectors like air or rail. The Order also requires expensive and time-consuming “trials” for ships before they could return to service. But as it has shown in other countries, the cruise industry knows how to protect passengers, crew, and port communities.”

Worth Reading: Residents in Alaska Looking to Limit Cruise Line Activity

Alaska Missing Vital Part of the Economy

As the cruise industry has proven time and again, it is vital to the economic health of Alaska and other states in the United States. According to Dunleavy, the losses are mounting, and so far, there seems to be no way out:

“The cruise industry is vital to the economic health of Alaska. Alaska has already suffered an economic loss of $3 billion due to the cancellation of the 2020 cruise ship season, and faces another (unnecessary) economic loss in 2021.” 

According to Alaska Attorney Treg Taylor, this is precisely why Alaska is joining Florida in the lawsuit against the CDC.

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor:

“Through this lawsuit, Alaska seeks to protect its citizens and its interests by forcing the CDC to act within the limited authority Congress granted it. The CDC simply does not have the authority to arbitrarily shut down an entire industry.”

The lawsuit against the Biden administration and the CDC calls the agency’s actions “arbitrary and capricious” and asks to “set aside the CDC’s unlawful actions and hold that cruises should be allowed to operate with reasonable safety protocols.”

Whether or not the lawsuit will be successful remains to be seen. In a reaction from the White House on the Florida lawsuit, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she didn’t have a direct response to the lawsuit, however:

“I will just reiterate that the CDC guidance is based on data and health and medical guidelines,” she said.

On the other hand, the CDC has remained eerily silent towards the criticism it has been receiving; neither did it respond to the lawsuit or even letters from Norwegian Cruise Line.

Cruise Ships Docked At Skagway Alaska

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