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Appeals court eases CDC restrictions on cruise ships

The Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas gets underway in front of a crowd in Miami, Florida
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A panel of three federal court judges on Friday denied an appeal from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), allowing a previous order to stand that prevents the agency from enforcing cruise ship rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In court documents filed on Friday, the court said the CDC had “failed to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay pending appeal.”

The CDC had filed a motion for a stay pending appeal near the start of July in which it argued “unregulated cruise ship operations would exacerbate the spread of COVID-19.”

The appeals court had sided with the CDC earlier this month, blocking a ruling from Judge Steven Merryday of the Middle District of Florida that prohibited the agency from enforcing coronavirus rules on cruise ships.

However, the court on Friday vacated its previous order in which it sided with the CDC. 

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) on Friday also asked the Supreme Court to block federal restrictions on cruise ships.

“The statute grants the CDC limited powers to enact traditional quarantine measures,” Moody stated in the brief. “It does not permit the agency to remake the entire cruise-ship industry.”

In a statement to Reuters, the CDC said cruise ships will still be required to report “individual cases of illness or death and ship inspections and sanitary measures to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases.”

Tags Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 pandemic Cruise ship Florida Steven Douglas Merryday

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