Gov. Mike Dunleavy said the State of Alaska is joining a Florida lawsuit against the Federal Centers for Disease Control.
The Florida lawsuit challenges the CDC’s shutdown of the cruise industry through its “Conditional Sailing Order” on the grounds that it goes beyond the scope of the CDC’s legal authority, the governor said in a press release.
The CDC has failed to recognize the cruise industry’s voluntary safety measures and the safe resumption of cruising in other countries, he said.
Over 400,000 passengers have returned to cruising in nearly a dozen other countries, resulting in less than 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Dunleavy.
The Conditional Sailing Order also doesn’t take into account the high vaccination rate of Alaskans, the effectiveness of the vaccines against COVID-19, and the low COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Alaska, Dunleavy said.
The CDC also requires expensive and time-consuming “trials” for ships before they could return to service.
“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,” Dunleavy said. “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.”
“Through this lawsuit, Alaska seeks to protect its citizens and its interests by forcing the CDC to act within the limited authority Congress granted it,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor.
“CDC simply does not have the authority to arbitrarily shut down an entire industry,” Taylor said.