Miami mayor Francis Suarez joined the many elected officials to speak up about the devastating effects of the ban on cruises from the CDC and the federal government. He would like cruises to be allowed by May 1, 2021, but that would be unlikely.
According to the Mayor, although COVID numbers have been dropping sharply in Miami and surrounding areas due to the vaccination efforts, the cruise industry remains on hold. Something that is significantly affecting Miami and Florida.
In an interview with Fox Business News, the Mayor went into the local impact the Conditional Sailing Order is having on Miami and why Miami is the best place to get cruising starting again, as soon as possible.
“What they’ve done to the cruise industry is horrible”
According to Mayor Suarez, the cruise industry and the companies and people that depend on a well-functioning cruise industry have been suffering badly. Unnecessarily according to the Mayor, as cases have been going down steadily since the vaccination program started in earnest in the United States, it is time then for people to take a cruise, preferably from PortMiami:
It’s tens of thousands of people who enjoy cruising. Many people save money all year just to take one vacation, which is a cruise. It’s been over a year; everything else has been open. The vaccine has proliferated tremendously in our community. We have reductions in our percent positivity number of new cases and even hospitalizations.
While cruising might seem a risky strategy for those who are not close to the cruise industry, cruising will be one of the safest activities that can be undertaken once a resumption is on the way.
The cruise lines will want to start cruising as soon as possible, but they will be doing that as safely as possible. An outbreak onboard a ship now would be a disaster not just for that ship and that company but also for the entire cruise industry. Something the Mayor agrees with wholeheartedly:
“The cruise industry is a very sophisticated industry. They’re willing to step up with testing, vaccinations, apps, and technology to make sure that it’s done safely. Remember they have a business reason to do it safely. If, if there’s an outbreak, not only is there a safety concern among the passengers, but it could destroy the business. So they’re not going to want to open until they’re ready. Now they’re ready to go. And I think they should have an opportunity to start immediately.”
Tens of Thousands of jobs affected
The impact the cruise industry has on a local level is often underrated. The fact that those working directly for the cruise lines are affected speaks for itself. However, the cruise industry supports many more people in surrounding areas; when asked how many would be affected by the CSO, the Mayor believes this to be in the tens of thousands:
It’s tens of thousands. The reason is that it’s not just the cruise industry; imagine people fly into Miami, they usually stay a night or two before they get on a cruise. They’re eating at the restaurants.
Figures provided by Port Miami in early September show the cruise industry at Port Miami is responsible for:
- 30,088 total jobs;
- over $5.8 billion in total economic value;
- over $549 million in direct personal income;
- over $1,713 billion in induced, indirect, and direct personal income; and
- over $188 million in state and local taxes.
While the Mayor is hopeful that the cruise industry could restart as early as May, realistically, July would be a better target. That depends on whether or not the CDC can release some of the guidelines they have put in place. A start was made with some amendments this week, yet this is hardly enough.
To see real change and a resumption of cruising in Miami, the CDC needs to make a dramatic 180° turn in its policies. Hope remains in place for a successful lawsuit from Governor DeSantis or an approval for the CRUISE act released by Senators Rick Scott, Dan Sullivan, and Marco Rubio. Whether those efforts will have any effect during a health crisis remains to be seen.
In the meantime, the pressure keeps growing on the CDC, the federal government, and the administration to take action. Something that has been lacking up to now.