TAMPA — A federal judge in Tampa says he plans to make a decision very soon on Florida’s lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What You Need To Know
- Florida is suing the CDC over “vaccine passport” requirements for cruise ships
- The state says passengers can assess their own level of risk
- The CDC says it has the right to set guidelines for cruise ships
- Previous Coverage
The state is challenging the CDC’s requirement that passengers prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 before setting sail.
Legal representation for both the State of Florida and the CDC returned to federal court Thursday for a second injunction hearing in front of Judge Steven Merryday.
As the hearing began, the judge confronted a state attorney about statements made last week by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office — a news release that stated a mediator in the case had declared it at impasse.
Judge Merryday confirmed that an impasse was never declared, mediation is ongoing. And he made it clear that mediation proceedings are confidential, promising to investigate any future leaks.
The attorney for the state called the statement from the governor’s office a misunderstanding.
The hearing continued with both sides delivering their arguments regarding the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order.
The state argued that people have the ability to assess their own risk and make their own decisions, saying the CDC’s requirement that 95% of passengers must be vaccinated doesn’t line up with President Biden’s goal of reaching a 70% nationwide vaccination rate by July 4.
The CDC’s attorney stated that the agency has approved every test cruise application it has received and said the reopening process is going smoothly.
An attorney for the Department of Justice argued it is within the CDC’s jurisdiction to set guidelines to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships.
There’s no set timeline on when a ruling will come down, but the judge stated he will make it soon.