The 11th Circuit’s stay order puts on hold a courtroom victory that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won last month.
A late-night order from a federal appeals court Saturday dealt a major setback to Florida’s effort to lift restrictions the federal government imposed on the cruise ship industry in order to prevent outbreaks of the coronavirus.
A panel of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to stay an order a federal judge in Tampa issued last month blocking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s framework for allowing cruises to resume. The cruise business was abruptly shuttered by federal order in March 2020 following a series of mass infections aboard large ships.
The appeals court’s one-page order, issued just before midnight Saturday, offered no explanation for the decision beyond saying the federal government had made “the requisite showing” to obtain a stay allowing the CDC rules to remain in effect. The panel did indicate that one judge dissented.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, brought the suit and touted the ruling last month from U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday as a victory for Florida’s economic comeback from the major slowdown in tourism during the pandemic.
Florida could ask the full bench of the 11th Circuit to reinstate the injunction against the CDC policy or seek similar relief from the Supreme Court. Spokespeople for the CDC and for DeSantis did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.
When Merryday issued the now-lifted preliminary injunction at DeSantis’ request on June 18, the judge said it appeared the CDC’s orders related to cruise ships exceeded its authority.
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