PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable Friday morning at Port Canaveral with executives from cruise lines and companies that work with cruise lines, at which time he called on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to rescind its no-sail order.
“If there is one thing we’ve learned over the past year, it’s that lockdowns don’t work and Floridians deserve the right to earn a living,” DeSantis said. “The cruise industry is essential to our state’s economy and keeping it shut down until November would be devastating to the men and women who rely on the cruise lines to provide for themselves and their families. I urge the CDC to immediately rescind this baseless no-sail order to allow Floridians in this industry to get back to work.” The CDC’s no-sail order is currently in effect until Nov. 1.
Some cruise line executives who spoke at Friday’s roundtable said they have had to lay off hundreds of employees, but would be able to immediately hire them back once the no-sail order is lifted.
Executives from smaller companies that do business with cruise lines said they have also had to lay off employees and that they have a backup of inventory that they cannot sell because it is specifically branded for certain cruise lines.
They too said they would be able to rehire laid off employees, but only if the no-sail order is lifted imminently as their businesses may not be able to survive another six months of the current situation.
Those who spoke at Friday’s roundtable expressed frustration that cruises have been allowed to sail in 10 regions across the world and so far there have been no COVID-19 outbreaks on the ships.
“In addition to the lack of guidance, the federal government has neglected to provide relief funding to seaports while airports and transit agencies have received assistance through previous relief packages,” a news release from the governor’s office stated. “Earlier this month, Governor DeSantis recommended Florida’s seaports receive $258.2 million out of the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to account for the losses accrued due to the no-sail order.”
The no-sail order has been in effect since March 14, 2020.
“A September 2020 report from the Federal Maritime Commission estimated that during the first 6 months of the pandemic, losses in Florida due to the cruise industry shutdown totaled $3.2 billion in economic activity, including 49,500 jobs paying $2.3 billion in wages,” the news release stated. “In addition, Florida saw wide-ranging indirect impacts throughout the state – from airports and ground transportation to hotels, restaurants, and tourist destinations.”