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June 18 (Reuters) - A Federal court in Tampa on Friday granted Florida a preliminary injunction against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) decision to prevent an immediate resumption of cruise operations.
The order will prevent the agency from enforcing against a cruise ship arriving in, within, or departing from Florida.
The lawsuit was filed in April by Republican Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the state had sought a quick lifting of a “nationwide lockdown” on the cruise industry that has been in place since March 2020.
Early in the pandemic, there were dangerous outbreaks of COVID-19 on several cruise ships.
“The federal government does not, nor should it ever, have the authority to single out and lock down an entire industry indefinitely,” Moody said.
Florida, viewed as a hub for cruise operators, said its ports have suffered a decline in operating revenue of almost $300 million since the pandemic started.
The injunction is stayed until July 18, after which time the CDC’s sailing order will only persist as a non-binding “consideration”, the order said.
The CDC was not immediately available for comment.
The order also allowed the agency to propose a “narrower” injunction by July 2 to allow cruise ships to sail timely and remain within the agency’s authority. (Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)