Yesterday, Governor DeSantis of Florida and Governor Walker of Alaska announced they were joining forces to sue the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In the past, the cruise industry has been an important contributor to Alaska’s economy, just as it plays in Florida’s.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that the state of Alaska would join the Florida lawsuit against the CDC and the Federal Government at a time when the cruise industry around the world is restarting, while the industry in the United States is at a standstill.
It occurs under the express authority of Congress that the order that shuts down the cruise industry goes well beyond the CDC’s powers. According to Mike Dunleavy, it fails to recognize the safety measures being proposed by the cruise industry.
Also, it ignores the fact that the US is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to cruising responsibly and that well over 400,000 people have already cruised on a vessel since August last year.
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,”
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.”
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.