PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (WWSB) - Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault held a roundtable discussion on Friday with cruise industry executives and employees.
The governor used the roundtable to highlight economic impacts to the cruise industry and to ask the Center for Disease Control to rescind its no-sail order to cruise lines.
The CDC has indicated the order will remain in place until Nov 1. The federal government has provided guidance to all other passenger transportation modes but DeSantis says the CDC has failed to issue guidance for the cruise industry to assist in its recovery. He also highlighted that seaports did not receive the same federal assistance as they did in previous relief packages.
DeSantis has recommended that 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.
”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,” said DeSantis. “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.”
A September 2020 report from the Federal Maritime Commission estimated that during the first six 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.
In addition, Florida saw wide-ranging indirect effects throughout the state – from airports and ground transportation to hotels, restaurants, and tourist destinations. The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the cruise industry are part of a larger struggle facing the entire travel industry, which ended 2020 with $1.1 trillion in losses, a 42 percent drop from 2019.