The Governor of Alaska, Mike Dunleavy, has announced they will be joining Florida in a lawsuit against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to resume cruising in U.S. waters.
The cruise industry plays a significant role in Alaska’s economy. Dunleavy said that Alaska has lost $3 billion due to the 2020 cruise halt, and is projected to continue this loss as the 2021 cruising season remains in limbo.
Alaska Joining Florida in Lawsuit Against CDC to Resume Cruising in the U.S.
While some cruise lines have taken to moving their home ports in order to resume operations, the Governor of Florida threatened legal action against the CDC to bring cruise ships back earlier this month.
Now, Alaska will be joining the lawsuit in an effort to push the CDC to either remove or revise its conditional sailing order.
The lawsuit challenges the CDC’s shutdown of the cruise industry on the grounds that it goes beyond the scope of the agency’s legal authority. Both states want the CDC to drop the framework for Conditional Sail Order, which is still not allowing cruise ships to sail in U.S. waters.
In a statement, Governor Dunleavy said:
“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.”
“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,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor.
“CDC simply does not have the authority to arbitrarily shut down an entire industry.”
The governor said the Conditional Sailing Order fails to recognize the cruise industry’s voluntary safety measures and the safe resumption of cruising in other countries. Over 400,000 passengers have already sailed aboard a cruise ship since August in nearly a dozen other countries, resulting in less than 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
He went on to say that the Conditional Sailing Order also does not take into account the high vaccination rate of Alaskans, the effectiveness of the vaccines against COVID-19, and the low COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Alaska.
As of this week, over 40% of adults in Alaska are fully vaccinated and 47% have had at least one shot.
Whether the lawsuit will be successful remains to be seen. In a reaction from the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki said she didn’t have a direct response to the lawsuit but reiterated that the CDC guidance is based on data and health and medical guidelines.
The CDC has not responded to the lawsuit or letters from Norwegian Cruise Lines asking to resume operations in July under strict health and safety protocols.
Should the ban not be lifted, more ships and cruise lines may also move their home ports to allow travel to restart.
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